Advocacy Alert

Advocacy Alert: 3ft Passing Bill on Governor Brown’s Desk

Our statewide partners at the California Bicycle Coalition are one step closer to victory in their latest Give Me 3 campaign.

Give Me 3 is a Bill to get drivers to give a safe three feet of clearance when passing a bicycle rider. Assembly Bill 1371 amends the Vehicle Code to specify three feet as the safe passing distance. Twenty-one other states have enacted similar legislation.

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The bill has been passed by the California State Assembly and as of August 27th, 2013 it passed the Senate on a 31-7 vote! Now it sits on the Governor’s desk awaiting final approval.

The legislation would “require a driver to pass a bicycle at a distance of at least three feet”, but when drivers cannot leave that much room due to road conditions they must slow to “a reasonable and prudent speed” and pass only if doing so would not endanger the cyclist’s safety. A violation would be punishable by fines starting at $35. It also sets a base fine of $220 (that’s $959 once court fees and other expenses are added) for injuring a bicycle rider in violation of this statute.

This current version of the bill is an attempt to address the concerns raised by the governor in vetoing previous 3-foot passing bills over the past two legislative sessions. This has given him the distinction of becoming only the second governor to do so – joining Texas’ Rick Perry.

Over 40% of fatal bicycle collisions are caused by motorists passing unsafely. And yet, Governor Brown has vetoed CalBike’s previous two “3 foot” bills. With your help today, the third time could be the charm.

AB 1371, if signed into law by the governor, could become an effective educational tool in making roads safer for all users. Please send a note urging Governor Jerry Brown to pass this important piece of legislation, and require California drivers to give a safe distance when they pass you on your bicycle.

Bicycle Barriers Survey

BikeBarriersSurveyIn order to know more about bicycles in SLO County, we have been working with the San Luis Obispo Council of Governments (SLOCOG) on a “Bicycle Barriers Survey“, which is now available online for your input!

We encourage you to take the survey, regardless of your bicycle riding habits.

  • Do you want to ride more, but are deterred by motorists? Take the survey.
  • Do you ride 40 miles everyday? Take the survey.
  • Do your children not ride to school because it is too difficult? Take the survey.
  • Do you not ride a bicycle at all? Take the survey.

The purpose of the survey is to understand how people ride bicycles in SLO County, what types of barriers exist prevent people from riding, how we can make riding better, and more.

Take the survey and share it with your friends and neighbors so we can help make SLO County better for bicycles! View it here.

This online survey is a follow-up to a previous survey that was mailed to a random sampling of the community and will be used to further inform SLOCOG about San Luis Obispo County residents’ views and priorities for the region. It was funded by SLOCOG and the Air Pollution Control District and carried out by the San Luis Obispo County Bicycle Coalition. Data gathered from the mailed survey will be made available to the public on the SLOCOG website in August 2013 and used to develop programming and infrastructure investment priorities.

Rand Paul Attacks Federal Funding

Just yesterday, July 24, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) introduced an amendment to the Transportation Appropriations Committee that will strip all Federal funding for biking and walking facilities. Please help us maintain the Transportation Alternatives (TA)* program – that will help build a bikeable and walkable SLO County.PaulAttacksFederalFundingPaul’s amendment would prohibit ANY MONEY from being used for TA*, and to redirect it all towards bridge repair. Contact our Senators and ask them to save Transportation Alternatives by voting NO on amendment 1742. It’s quick, painless, and will help ensure the Bob Jones Trail is completed in your lifetime.

Caron Whitaker, the League’s Vice President for Government Relations, told POLITICO that the amendment is off the mark. TA represents just 2 percent of transportation funding, and that percentage would hardly put a dent in bridge repair.

“Stripping the Mayors of this funding and putting the entire TA program funding to bridge repair couldn’t fix our country’s bridges in 40 or more years […] However, putting this 2 percent put towards transportation needs in our cities, towns and counties can make transportation in those communities more safe, efficient and accessible.”

-Caron Whitaker, VP for Government Relations
League of American Bicyclists

Obviously repairing our bridges is important, both for safety and economic development reasons, but dedicating the small amount of TA funding to bridge repair would not be highly effective. Taking this small amount of funding away would dangerously undermine efforts in communities to provide safe and efficient transportation options for everyone. With rates of bicycling and walking fatalities on the rise, this is a trade we can’t afford to make.

The Senate hopes to finish this bill today, so please act soon!

Read more from our national partners at the League of American Bicyclists here.

*In 2012, Congress passed a new transportation bill, MAP-21, that dismantled dedicated funding for biking and walking by combining Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to School and Recreational Trails into one program, Transportation Alternatives (TA), and cut the funding by 30%. The only saving grace was a local control provision to ensure that Mayors and communities could access dollars to support their local transportation priorities.

Bike Theft Prevention & Tips

A stolen bicycle sucks. Nothing compares to the brutal feeling of having something stolen from you, especially if it is something as beloved and useful as a bicycle. Too often, the Bicycle Coalition hears stories of bicycles being stolen from backyards, garages, and public racks.

Earlier this year our Executive Director’s bicycle got stolen and through the magic of social media, craigslist, and constant communication with the police department, it was found and returned to him in a few weeks! While the recovery rate is traditionally low, there are a few steps you can take to make it easier to get it back into your loving arms.

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Sometimes making a flier is better than therapy.

Register Your Bicycle

  • Registering your bike won’t keep it from being stolen, but it greatly aids in its return to you if it is recovered by the police. The police will not give you back your bike unless they have proof that it belongs to you, so a serial number and photo are essential.
  • The SLOPD just launched an online bicycle registration system for residents, which we encourage you to do here.
  • If you are a Cal Poly student, UPD has an online bicycle registration system for students.
  • If you do not live in San Luis Obispo there are still a few simple steps to take, as illustrated below.

Preventing Theft

  • Lock your bike – it’s the easiest way to deter a thief!
Locking

Basic tips on how to lock your bicycle. Locking the front wheel with the frame to a rack is most essential.

How to Document Your Bicycle

  1. Download & fill-out our “Freezer Form” and keep the information yourself.
  2. Take a photo and type in your serial number and email it to yourself. That way, it’s stored in your email inbox forever.
  3. Use the National Bike Registry for a fee.
  4. Whether you are a renter or homeowner, many insurance plans cover the loss of a bicycle — anywhere in the city. Check in with your Insurance provider to see if your bike is covered.
  5. Follow our 2011 Bike Hack trick to help provide proof that it is your bicycle.

By keeping your serial number and photo handy, you can easily file a police report — or prove the bike is yours if you find it for sale somewhere.

Bike-Photo

Photographing your bicycle doesn’t need to be this serious, but you get the idea.

What to Do if Your Bike Has Been Stolen

  1. Find your serial number and photo of the bike (as mentioned above)
  2. Look to see if there was a camera nearby. If so, contact the building owner to see if they can provide you with footage, to help identify the thief.
  3. File a police report with the local police department.
  4. Post the theft as STOLEN: on craigslist. The craigslist community is amazing, do not underestimate them!
  5. Social media is your friend in this instance, the more you share, the more eyes are on the ground to help recover your beloved bicycle.
  6. Come to our Bike Kitchen and provide a brief description of your bicycle. We do our best to make sure the bikes that come through our doors are not stolen and can notify you if we see them in here.
  7. File a claim with your insurance company, if you are covered. Call your agent to see if you will need a police report and coordinate as appropriate.
  8. Check out the local Flea Markets. Some people have reported finding their bike at various local markets. If you do spot your bike, call the local police immediately and ask them to assist in your recovery. They can find your police report once they begin the investigation. Do not approach or confront the seller for your own safety.

Next-Gen Bike Lanes

The following was originally published in our Spring 2013 Spoken Wheel newsletter.

BIKE LANES 2.0
The next generation of bike facilities will blow your mind

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In all corners of America, we are seeing innovative solutions for bicycles on our roadways. The goal of many of these facilites is to create a safer more inviting space to get more people comfortable riding bicycles.

To share this incredible progress, we put together this quick guide for you. We hope it will inspire you to think big as we shape the future of bicycles in SLO County together!

GETTIN’ IT DONE IN SLO COUNTY

The road towards innovative spaces for bicycles in SLO County is long, but the Bicycle Coalition is in it for the longhaul. We are determined to make our communities beacons for bicycles in the golden state of California. Unfortunately, the drive and energy to pursue these successful strategies won’t come from our local leaders and government staff – it comes from you!

With your help, we can make these visions a reality. Join the Bicycle Coalition today to strengthen our voice for bicycles countywide. The more members we have, the faster we can move towards completing our bike paths and putting these innovative solutions to work in your neighborhood.

BikeBox

A bike box is a designated area at the head of a traffic lane at a signalized intersection that provides bicyclists with a safe and visible way to get ahead of queuing traffic during the red signal phase.

SEEN IN: Boston MA, Austin TX, Madison WI
COST: $
PROS: Greatly increases visibility of bicyclists.
Helps prevent ‘right-hook’ conflicts with turning vehicles at intersections.
Facilitates bicyclist left turn positioning during red signal.
Pedestrians benefit from reduced vehicle encroachment into the crosswalk.

BikeCorrals

On street bicycle parking spaces allow bicyclists to ride straight up to park their bicycles. One vehicle parking spot can accomodate over 10 bicycles. These corrals can be easily branded to promote neighboring businesses or areas.

SEEN IN: Long Beach CA, Missoula MT, Seattle WA
COST: $$
PROS: Decreases sidewalk conflicts between bicycles and pedestrians by preventing bicycle riding on the sidewalk and improper bicycle parking. Increases storefront visibility for businesses. One vehicle parking spot can accomodate over 10 bicycle customers.

Read more

BIG Win for Bicycles in San Luis Obispo

Earlier in 2013, the San Luis Obispo City Council made expanding our bikeway network a major city goal. Later, on Monday, June 17th, the Council approved a two year budget that makes incredible strides towards strengthening our investment in safe biking and walking infrastructure.

The next budget cycle will include unbelievable investment in our bikeways. The Bicycle Coalition is excited to announce the increase in general funds towards bikeway improvements from $25,000 to $100,000 a year. That’s 4x the previous annual investment!

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This full list of projects below illustrates the dedication and partnership between the City Council, Staff, and your Bicycle Coalition over the next two years:

  • Bicycle Traffic Counts
  • Bicycle Education
  • SLO City Bike Rodeo
  • Bike Parking
  • $1,759,000 for the Railroad Safety Trail
  • $600,000 for the Bob Jones Trail
  • $120,000 for path maintenance
  • $200,000 for bicycle facilities improvements
  • $50,000 for sidewalk repairs
  • $220,000 for sidewalk ramp construction
  • …and more!

We know that we are joined by tens of thousands of people in our community in saying THANK YOU to our council for believing in the positive impact of complete bikeways in our lovable city.

You too can take a moment to send City Council members a thank you note for quadrupling funding for bikeways. Find their contact information here.

Preventing Collisions by Addressing Distracted Driving

With summer fast approaching and more bicycle riders than ever on our roadways, we have been hearing of multiple avoidable collisions between bicycle riders and motorists. In response to a personal experience one of our members wrote an incredible letter to the editor in this week’s Tribune.

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank Lea for letting us publish it here and wish a speedy recovery for anyone who has been in an crash recently. If you or someone you know has been in a crash, the Bicycle Coalition has resources available for you to assist in asserting your rights on a bicycle. Contact us at crash@slobikelane.org.

The following originally appeared in the May 22, 2013 issue of the SLO Tribune.

Plea from an injured cyclist’s wife: Drivers, pay attention
By Lea Brooks

Anxiously waiting outside the emergency room at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center in San Luis Obispo, I tried not to speculate about my husband’s injuries. All I knew is that he had been hit by a car while bicycling on Highway 1 in Morro Bay and that the trauma team was still evaluating the damage.

California Highway Patrol Officer C.L. Hawkins, who was investigating the crash, emerged from the trauma center’s closed doors carrying a black plastic garbage bag containing the tattered clothes and other belongings of my husband, Myron “Skip” Amerine. She also handed me his cracked, blood-stained helmet.

The driver, she said, was a 23-year-old woman from Cayucos who was running late to her job in Morro Bay. The driver didn’t see Skip until she collided with him from behind at approximately 65 mph. Officer Hawkins said the driver told her she “must not have been paying good enough attention” — a statement included in the official CHP traffic collision report.

The crash occurred on the tricky southbound stretch of Highway 1 between the Highway 41 onramp and Main Street onramp. Bike riders are supposed to follow the dashed white line to the right of the through slow lane and avoid weaving across the on- and off-ramps.

An image captured by Myron ‘Skip’ Amerine’s helmet camera as he was struck by a car.

An image captured by Myron ‘Skip’ Amerine’s helmet camera as he was struck by a car.

A digital video camera image of Skip and his bicycle flying horizontally over the dashed white line where he was supposed to be riding provided solid evidence the driver was at fault. The camera had been mounted on his helmet, but popped off on impact and kept recording until it was turned off by the investigating officers.

The video image is a chilling reminder of the risks people who ride bikes, pedestrians and other motorists face from distracted drivers. An appalling number of drivers are texting, talking on the phone, impaired by alcohol or drugs, or generally not paying attention while behind the wheel of a moving vehicle.

The driver was cited for violation of California Vehicle Code 21658(a), which states a vehicle shall be driven as nearly as practical entirely within a single lane and shall not be moved from the lane until such movement can be made with reasonable safety.

Skip’s injuries included a concussion, compound fracture of a lower vertebra and nasty bruises and abrasions from head to foot. I’m relieved he wasn’t killed or more seriously hurt, but am angry he was the victim of a crash that was 100 percent preventable. Distracted drivers need to realize the consequences of their actions.

In Skip’s situation, he faces weeks of painful healing and reliance on me and others for assistance with daily living. His activities will be hampered by a back brace for two months. Resumption of daily bicycle rides is a distant goal. Our plans for the rest of the year, including a bicycle tour, have been cast aside to focus on Skip’s recovery.

What a paradox that the crash occurred on May 1, the first day of Bike Month. This local and national celebration encourages people to bicycle to work, school, to run errands and for fun and exercise. As bicycle advocates for many years, Skip and I support Bike Month’s role in motivating people to try cycling, and were looking forward to participating in the myriad activities scheduled in San Luis Obispo.

So, how do you encourage people to bicycle when you are the victim of a distracted driver? Many people don’t ride because they are afraid of being hit by a motorist, especially from behind. While statistics show rear-end collisions are not common, they do happen.

My response is that there is risk in almost everything we do, including driving a car. The risk of bicycling is more than offset by its health benefits. Other benefits include reducing greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming, relieving traffic congestion, no gasoline or parking expenses and saving time by combining exercise and transportation. Plus, bicycling is downright fun.

Bike Month provides a platform to remind bike riders about steps they can take to improve their safety, including wearing a helmet and brightly colored clothing, signaling turns and obeying traffic signals and other rules of the road. For more information about bicycle safety and gaining confidence to ride in traffic, enroll in a bicycle education workshop offered by the San Luis Obispo County Bicycle Coalition at slobikeed.org. Joining the Bicycle Coalition by going to slobikelane.org is a constructive way to support efforts to improve the quality of life on the Central Coast through bicycling advocacy, education and inspiration.

Bike Month activities are posted on the San Luis Obispo Council of Governments’ website at rideshare.org/bikemonth2013. It’s not too late to dust off that bike in the garage and participate.

My plea to motorists: Pay attention! Put down that smartphone and other devices, avoid distractions and be alert for people who ride bikes on the road, especially before opening your car door or in blind spots before entering or leaving a lane of traffic. Bicycles are a legitimate form of transportation and cyclists deserve your respect. And remember that distracted driving crashes are preventable.

Lea Brooks is a journalism graduate of Cal Poly. She recently returned to San Luis Obispo after living and working in Northern California for 30 years. She and her husband have been active in bicycle advocacy and advisory groups.

Advocacy Alert

Help Secure Cap and Trade Funding for Safe Routes to School and Bike/Ped

SRTS_NationalThe California Air Resources Board will be holding public hearings for input on the investment of cap-and-trade auction proceeds to support the State’s effort to reduce the greenhouse gases (GHG) that contribute to climate change.  Active transportation offers unique advantages to reduce GHG emissions and improve public health, reduce congestion, and improve public safety.

Increasing investments in Safe Routes to School programs, bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure and first-last mile connections to public transit will support the goals of AB 32 and SB 375.  We encourage the administration to set aside a significant portion of the cap and trade revenues for these purposes.

hawthorne18

Increased levels of bicycling and walking must play a part in reducing GHG emissions if
California wants to meet the targets set by AB 32.

A shift of automobile trips to bicycling or walking trips has a direct, positive impact in that trip emissions are reduced by 100 percent.  Approximately 60% of trips in California are under one mile, and are currently taken by automobile. These trips can easily be accomplished by walking or bicycling, drastically reducing GHG emissions.

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Join us in providing comments to the administration on this important topic.  The Safe Routes to School National Partnership has developed the following talking points and nexus document for your information. (They are jam packed with information! Check them out).

We encourage you to submit a written comment here by March 8th to show your support for these funds to be used to help fund our bike/ped infrastructure and programs!