Posts Tagged ‘Michigan’

State Rep. Santana’s support for biking

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

The Michigan House recently passed a resolution recognizing May as Bike Month in Michigan. The resolution was introduced by its primary sponsor Representative Harvey Santana from Detroit’s Tenth district.

“I’m proud that the House passed this resolution to help me encourage others to discover the love of biking that I share with countless cyclists in our great state,” Santana said. “Biking to work is an efficient and fun way to get the exercise you need without having to find extra time to work out, as well as a great way to get around town. And this year, with gasoline prices as high as they are, biking to work makes more sense than ever.”

Santana added that while many people think of country roads as a great place to bike, he looks at his own west side Detroit neighborhood as the perfect spot to enjoy a few miles of biking.

“The Tenth District is a perfect place to enjoy biking with Rouge Park being a major part of the district,” he said. “It contains many miles of paved and unpaved trails that residents can safely enjoy. Spring has sprung and the warm weather beckons all of us to get outdoors and enjoy it.”

I’ve known Harvey for many years and worked with him on the Rouge Park hike/bike trails. He was a prolific volunteer and a mountain bike racer.

When Harvey was elected, he asked what legislation could be passed to improve biking in Michigan. I suggested changing making right-hand turn signaling legal for bicyclists. As we’ve mentioned before, the current left-hand in the air sign looks like a wave and is certainly ineffective. We shouldn’t be educating cyclists to use something that few on the road understand. State law should support cyclists using common sense hand signals.

Besides, this change in state law will give a boost to Michigan’s rankings in the Bicycle Friendly States list.

Below is the Michigan Bike Month resolution, which contains some interesting facts about bicycling in Michigan.


2010 data shows major increases in fatalities

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

Michigan’s Office of Highway Safety Planning issued a press release today regarding reported road crashes.

The news isn’t good, but especially for pedestrians and bicyclists.

For the first time in seven years, Michigan experienced an up tick in traffic deaths in 2010. During the same time the number of traffic crashes, serious injury crashes and alcohol-involved crashes all declined. While traffic deaths were up, the overall trend continues to be one of decline.

And while the detailed data hasn’t been released yet, they did provide these summaries:

  • Pedestrian involved fatalities increased 6 percent, up from 125 in 2009 to 133 in 2010.
  • Bicycle involved fatalities were up 55 percent, from 20 in 2009 to 31 in 2010.

What are “bicycle involved fatalities?” It means there was a reported crash that involved a bicyclists which resulted in a death. Since bicyclists typically don’t crash and kill other people (even pedestrians), these fatalities are most likely all bicyclists.

Job openings: Michigan Safe Routes to School

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

The Michigan Safe Routes to School web site has posted information on two new job positions at the Michigan Fitness Foundation (MFF): a new Safe Routes to School Program Director and a part-time Michigan Policy Network Organizer.

The latter position is the result of the Safe Routes to School National Partnership selecting Michigan to participate in the 2011 phase of the State Policy Network Project. According to the web site:

The Michigan Policy Network will work to increase physical activity among all students, leverage additional state resources for Safe Routes to School initiatives, and advocate to remove barriers to walking and bicycling to schools through policy initiatives. Nineteen states and the District of Columbia currently participate in this project, which is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Kaiser Permanente and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

2010 Elections: What they mean to Detroit cyclists

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

Just some quick observations…

Michigan House

We lose cycling supporter (and Tour de Troit rider) Rep. Gabe Leland due to term limits. However, his replacement is cycling and trails advocate  Harvey Santana.

Former Detroit City Councilmember Alberta Tinsley-Talabi was elected to the State House. She was a solid supporter of Detroit’s non-motorized plan on Council.

Michigan Senate

Rep. Coleman Young II, who sat on the House Transportation Committee and supported the Complete Streets legislation, is now heading to the Michigan Senate.

Michigan Governor

We didn’t know if there was much of a difference between the two gubernatorial candidates. Though Rick Synder was called out on the pedestrian bridge comment, he noted that he supported bike-friendly, walkable communities. He also pledged to help strengthen the city of Detroit. And, insider talk says Bill Rustem may play a key role in they Synder administration. Rustem is a former board member of the Michigan chapter of the Rails to Trails Conservancy and a board emeritus for the Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance.

The bigger question is what will happen with MDOT. Will MDOT Director Kirk Steudle remain? Under his leadership, MDOT supported the Complete Streets legislation. He also authored that great letter about Complete Streets.

U.S. Congress

The huge loss of Congressman James Oberstar of Minnesota is quite devastating for bicycle advocacy in the U.S.  Andy Clarke, Executive director of the League of American Bicyclists says, “I’m not going to lie – I’m depressed.”

Congresswoman Carolyn Kilpatrick lost in the primary and was a member of the bicycle caucus. She’s replaced by Hansen Clarke.

Congressman Mark Schauer had become a supporter of bicycling, especially through the efforts of PEAC. He lost his seat to Tim Walberg.

And overall the lost of Democratic control of the House will have a major impact on bicycling. It makes John Boehner the Speaker and he has some history of not being too bike friendly. And it might take a whole lot more work to make the  next transportation bill bike friendly.

As Clarke said, we’re now on the defensive.

Michigan is #1 for Rail-Trail miles

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

According to some recent news from the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, Michigan leads all other states for the number of rail-trail miles.

Michigan currently has 2,478 miles. Minnesota is a close second with 2,309 while Wisconsin sits in third with 1,788.

Not all of these trail miles are as well-developed as the Paint Creek or Dequindre Cut, but they’re open so they count.

It’s good to see Michigan leading the nation in a positive category.