Posts Tagged ‘On-road bicycling’

Sharing Public Roads with Bicyclists

Monday, November 24th, 2008

At 11 PM on March 6th, 1896, Charles B. King drove the first gasoline-powered automobile in Detroit — and perhaps the first in Michigan.

He shared the road with a bicyclist.

And it’s been that way ever since.  Cars and bikes have the same access to all of Michigan roads except for the Interstates.

Despite what some motorists may think, they are not offered any priority under the law.  They may be annoyed with having to share the road.  They may have to endure slight delays on occasion.  They may think cyclists should ride on sidewalks, which is much less safe.  [In fact in some cities like Royal Oak, it’s against local ordinance for adults to ride a bicycle on the sidewalk.]

But on the grand list of inconveniences motorists encounter on our roads, items like traffic slowdowns, construction delays, train crossings, school buses, and inclement weather rank near the top — not cyclists.

Even so, the bottom line is our public roads need to be shared.  That’s how it’s always been and that’s the law.

So who was the bicyclist that King first shared the road with?  It was a lanky 32-year old mechanical engineer named Henry Ford, who would drive his own first car three months later.

Making Detroit easier to Walk and Bike

Sunday, November 23rd, 2008

John Gallagher of the Detroit Free Press wrote an excellent article about transforming Detroit’s current road infrastructure to the betterment of the surrounding neighborhoods.

Detroit’s main streets make good highways but lousy neighborhoods.

It’s time to change that.

The local development community is abuzz with talk of adding bicycle lanes, wider sidewalks, new landscaping and other devices to narrow Detroit’s arterial streets — Woodward, Gratiot, Jefferson and others.

Whether it’ll happen is open to question. But the goal is to recapture Detroit’s cityscape for the people who actually live here.

Gallagher also references last week’s transportation week that we wrote about earlier.

Model D also covered last week’s events with this video featuring Ian Lockwood from Glatting-Jackson.

Royal Oak forms a Bicycle Task Force

Friday, November 14th, 2008

First, we must thank all the cyclists that came to Monday’s City Commission meeting.  It was impressive and that made the difference, as noted below.

And thanks for being patient.  It took more time than expected (and more time than normal) to get to the public comment period.  There’s an old adage that lawmaking is like making sausage.  You don’t want to see how it’s done.  Monday’s meeting was no exception.

But, once we were able to speak about improving cycling in Royal Oak, the Commission listened and acted.  They modified the evening’s agenda and added a discussion on cycling.

That discussion led to the creation of a small bicycling task force that will work with the city manager to develop recommendations on how we can improve biking safety in Royal Oak.

Our task force has already arranged a meeting later this month with Tom Hoover, Royal Oak’s city manager.  The Woodward Avenue Action Association is supportive of our efforts and will participate in this discussion as well.

There was media coverage of the event by the Detroit News, Daily Tribune, and Mirror.

I also got a quote in the November Complete Streets e-Newsletter:

It’s difficult to ride your bike to the zoo when it shouldn’t be.  Royal Oak spends so much on parking.  If we increased the number of people riding bicycles in the city we’d save money.

Royal Oak Cyclists: Speak up on Monday!

Saturday, November 8th, 2008

If you live, work and bike in Royal Oak — we need you on Monday, November 10th at 7:30 PM at City Hall (third floor).

Royal Oak City Environment Committee, the Sierra Club, and concerned local bicyclists are speaking before City Commission to ask for improved bicycle and pedestrian safety in Royal Oak.  In short we are asking them to develop a non-motorized transportation plan.

Here are some tips from Tom Regan, who’s down a lot of work getting us to this point:

We will speak at public comment, which is at the very start of the meeting, so you must be on-time.

Idea — Bike to the event and carry your bicycle helmet into the meeting. Hold your helmet when you speak at public comment.

The themes are very simple. You can address any one or more of these points when you speak:

  • Royal Oak can be a dangerous place to ride a bike.
  • All Royal Oak citizens will benefit if Royal Oak becomes a safer place to walk and ride a bike.
  • Royal Oak should write a non-motorized transportation plan as a way to set community goals and reach them in an intelligent and efficient manner.

Be very brief, or take the whole 5 minutes, or just give your name and address and say “I would like Royal Oak to write a non-motorized transportation plan.” If even that sounds scary just stand next to someone else when they talk and hold your bike helmet!

The local Sierra Club has jumped into this effort with both feet. They are an extremely well-organized and active chapter, we are very fortunate to have their help. The Royal Oak Environment Committee has also endorsed the effort.

Please send your letters-to-the-editor now. There will be a sudden drop in letters with the election over, now is a good time to get published. Nothing long or involved is needed, just dash off something quick on how Royal Oak would benefit if it were safer for walking and biking:

We look forward to seeing some helmets at Monday’s meeting.

Transit and Bikes come together in Detroit

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

DDOT to get Bike Racks

It began with a Transportation Riders United, MTGA, a bike petition, and others asking for bike racks on DDOT buses.

A bus rack manufacturer loaned DDOT some racks to try out on the Russell line.  Their Bikes on Buses (B.O.B.) program was started.  Meanwhile, DDOT requested funding to equip all of their buses with bike racks.

The great news is MDOT has approved that funding request.  Over a three-year period, all of DDOT line haul buses will get bike racks.

Model D Speaker Series: Bikes + Transit

Next Tuesday, October 21st, the Model D Speaker Series welcomes John Hertel and Scott Clein to the Motor CIty Movie House at the Russell Industrial Center.  The event begins at 5 PM with the presentations starting at 5:30 PM.

From Model D:

Hertel is the local transit czar, and will speak on the the Regional Transportation Coordinating Council’s recently released transit plan for Southeastern Michigan, including a light rail or streetcar system down Woodward Avenue. (Hear more about it here from Model D Radio/Michigan Now reporter Chris McCarrus.)

Clein is an engineer with  Giffels-Webster, the firm which recently helped design a non-motorized plan that calls for more than 400 miles of bike lanes in Detroit. The plan recently got approval from Detroit City Council. Read more about it here.

To sign up for this free event or to get directions, visit Model D.

We’ll see you there!