A web site migration

January 21st, 2019

We’ve moved… and hopefully you didn’t notice.

We migrated the web site from it’s old, tired hosting to this new location. As a result, we’re now running with upgraded backend software and a security certificate (i.e. HTTPS vs HTTP).

We do anticipate making some additional improvements and fixes as time allows.

Exciting 2018 bike updates from the city of Ferndale

April 26th, 2018

From Ferndale Planning Manager Justin Lyons:

As fellow Ferndale bicycling supporters, I wanted to let you know about some upcoming events and projects happening this summer.

May has nearly arrived, which means Ferndale Bike Month is right around the corner! This year, we are hosting more group bike rides (including a parks tour), a Bicycling 101 class, and the annual Downtown Bike Rodeo. All the details can be found on the City’s Bike Month page with final locations, routes, and start times to come.

The biggest road construction project of the summer is taking place on Livernois (between 9 Mile and 8 Mile). Aside from a freshly paved road (sans potholes), protected bike lanes, bike boxes, safer pedestrian crossings, a new traffic signal at 9/Livernois, and a new public plaza at 9/Livernois will be part of the project. Informational meetings will be held at the Kulick Community Center (1201 Livernois) today, April 26th at 11am and 6pm and more details are posted at this link. If you’re free, we always appreciate bike lane supportive voices in the crowd.

Aside from those projects, Gainsboro/Paxton (between E. Nine Mile and Woodland) will be getting a bike lane this summer (July/August), which will better connect E. Nine Mile to Woodward Heights. Lastly, W. Nine Mile (between Pinecrest and Coolidge) will be restriped to 3 lanes and adding a buffered bike lane as part of a joint project with Oak Park (page on Ferndale Moves coming soon).

Looking forward to seeing you on the streets of Ferndale this summer.

Elsa Von Blumen & Detroit’s first indoor bicycle track

January 26th, 2018

Some might think the new Lexus Velodrome is Detroit’s first — or even the first one indoors. It’s not. The Dorais Velodrome isn’t either.

In fact it’s challenging to know how many bicycle tracks Detroit has had since many were built just for a specific event.

One of those — and perhaps the first  — was built inside the former Music Hall for an endurance event in 1882.  Ms. Elsa Von Blumen (a pseudonym for Caroline Kiner) had come to Detroit in an attempt to ride 1,000 miles in six days, something she’d accomplished in Pittsburgh during the prior December.

Von  Blumen was born in Pensacola, Florida (or Kansas?), and not unlike Susan B. Anthony, moved with her family to Rochester, NY .

Read the rest of this entry »

Bad local biking ordinances become enforceable in 2018

November 23rd, 2017

Oops!

The state legislature recently enacted bills that raise speed limits in Michigan and decrease penalties for doing so. That wasn’t smart but that’s not all.

Many Michigan cities have bad local bicycling laws. We’ve documented them both here and here, though some may have been removed since these articles were written. Now fortunately nearly none of these are enforceable since current state law (MCL 257.606 Section 4) requires local authorities to post these local bicycle ordinances on signs.

That requirement goes away on January 5th, 2018.

Why? Because the that speeding bill we mentioned earlier incorrectly amended 257.606. It removed items from Section (1) and failed to update Section (4) which referenced those items. It appears to only affect the enforcement of local bicycle ordinances (posted signs are no longer required) and truck routes (posted signs are now required.)

The Detroit Greenways Coalition worked with Detroit City Council to remove its outdated local ordinances. Other cities have not. We expect the Coalition will help get this state law corrected. It would also be a good opportunity to remove local authorities from requiring bicycle registrations and licenses — and fees.

Not that you will, but you can potentially get tickets for the following bicycle violations starting January 5th: Read the rest of this entry »

Detroit Patrolman Charles Stewart’s “Horrible Death”

November 2nd, 2014

detroit-police-at-elmwood-station-1895The Detroit Police Department (originally called the Metropolitan Police) were among the first to put officers on bicycles.

In 1893, Officer Charles J. Stewart was appointed to the department and began his assignment on the Elmwood Precinct bicycle patrol. The Elmwood station was on Elmwood Avenue between Lafayette and E. Fort Street. The station and those segments of Elmwood and Fort no longer exist, but it would have been a block east and just south of the current Lafayette/McDougall intersection where the MLK High School is now

The Detroit News has an 1895 photo of Officers Joe Whitty (left) and Stewart taken at the Elmwood Station. Both are wearing their bicycle police uniforms, which included knickers to prevent their pant legs from getting caught in their front sprocket. Their bikes were fixed gears with dropped bars and designed to go fast. It doesn’t appear they had brakes.

There were very few automobiles on the roads, but Whitty and Stewart had to be able to catch the fast cyclists of the day who might be scorching (i.e. speeding) on Detroit’s streets. The speed limit was 8 MPH in the downtown area and 12 MPH outside of it. Read the rest of this entry »