Santa Ana plans bicycle safety forum on Feb. 22

santaanabikeformum

Jane Rands, bicycle activist sent this poster to the Veggie Biker via Vince Buck, who is also in the North Orange County Bicycle Advocacy Coalition (NOCBAC). No other information was given, but Veggie Biker aims to get it out to you quickly so you can put it in your calendar. If you have questions, please, contact the folks on the poster.

Fullerton’s BikeShare offers sturdy bikes for short trips

There are supposed to be 15 BikeShare stations across the City of Fullerton. This station at California State University--Fullerton has empty slots for incoming bikes rented from other station, while offering bikes one can jump on for a quick trip to a downtown station on Wilshire.

There are supposed to be 15 BikeShare stations across the City of Fullerton. This station at California State University–Fullerton has empty slots for incoming bikes rented from other station, while offering bikes one can jump on for a quick trip to a downtown station on Wilshire.

By Vince Buck, North Orange County Bicycle Advocacy Coalition (NOCBAC), Courtesy of the Fullerton Observer, December 2013 Edition

Bicycle sharing has come to Fullerton.

Fifteen BikeShare stations are in place around town and being made available to the public. However, riding the new bikes is not as simple as it seems. I was one of several “beta-testers??? and have a few suggestions on using these bikes (details on how the system works can be found at on the Orange County Transportation Authority website.

BikeShare Bikes

BikeShare rides have sold tires and no chain. You have to stop to shift gears. But that means there are fewer things for the previous riders to break.

If you are used to riding a standard 27-speed road bike or a mountain bike, the BikeShare bikes will take some getting used to. If you ride a beach cruiser, the adjustment will be easier. These are slow, heavy bicycles. The only reason anyone would steal one is for scrap-metal.

The bicycles do not have chains and the tires are solid. They do have a basket, lights that turn on when the bicycle is moving, three speeds and a bell.

Handlebars of Bikeshare

Sturdy, utilitarian construction is the hallmark of the BikeShare bike. Figure 8 mph tops.

The configuration is similar to a beach cruiser, but since I ride a road bike, I found it difficult to control. My first suggestion is to do your initial ride in a safe place until you get used to controlling the bicycle.

Other suggestions:

  • The bikes do not shift when pedaling. You must stop pedaling, shift, and then resume peddling. Since the bicycle is so heavy, having three gears is very helpful and shifting is essential. The shifting mechanism is a ring around the right handlebar.
  • The bell is a ring (no pun intended) around the left handlebar. If you do not know it is there you might ring it by mistake which is startling.
 The bicycles are slow, probably about 8 mph, half the speed of a road bike, so take that into consideration when planning your trip.
  • The lights work only while the bike is moving, so you may not be visible when stopped at a traffic signal. The front light flashes. It is not for lighting the street but to make the bike visible. Be careful not to obscure it with items in the basket.
  • Seat height must be adjusted. On the front of the seat post are some marked gradations. Once you know the proper adjust- ment—in my case, 7—you can easily go to it each time you take out a bicycle. Once you know your height, it is probably easiest to make the adjustment before removing the bike from the rack. For the first time adjustment, a rough guide is to have your leg fully outstretched when your heel is on the pedal.
BikeShare instructions

The bikes come with only a few instructions. Riders must get used to “taking the road” and not dodging in and out of parking spaces. Let the car honk. Of course, they don’t rent the helmets

Bicycles can be “rented??? on a daily or yearly basis. (Pay your money and you can hop on and off any bike at any time.) If you sign up for a year — and students are subsidized — you are given a card. All you need to do to take out the bike is pass that card over the sensor. On a daily basis you can use a credit card, which is a more involved process.

No charge is made for the first 30 minutes of use, once you are signed up, or have paid the daily fee. If the bike is returned before 30 minutes have expired, you can take it out again for another 30 minutes with no charge. (You can ride all day, switching bikes every 30 minutes, for just one charge. You really can ride across Fullerton this way.)

When the bicycle is replaced it is important to make sure it is locked in. That requires an extra push. When it is fully in, lights will flash.

While this may seem complicated and the bikes cumbersome, they will serve useful purposes and be a good supplement to getting around town, especially when all the stations are in place.

Solar BikeShare station

BikeShare is part of the Green Movement. It is an attempt to get people out of their cars and use sustainable, non-polluting transportation integrated with buses and trains.

Similar bikes are immensely popular in large cities around the world. New York had five million rides in the first five months of operation. Still, regular users will probably want to buy their own faster, more comfort- able bikes.

Commuters should know that there are bike lockers at the train station, so your personal bike can safely be stored overnight. Bikes are also allowed on trains and on buses, so you can put your bike aboard the bike car and have a bike when you get to your destination.

But if you just want to ride from Fullerton Transportation Center to Cal State Fullerton—Bikeshare will get you there easily.

 

 

 

Take the survey, bicyclists. Tell OCTA what you want

There is still a chance to lobby for bicycle safety in The O.C.

octalogo2If you, like the Veggie Biker, was unable to attend the Orange County Transportation Authority Long Range Transportation roundtable Nov. 15, you can still fill out the OCTA Long Range Transportation survey. You also get to comment on freeways, buses and trains. It will take about 15 minutes to complete. Bicyclists have plenty of places to write in ideas.

Here is the link. http://www.octa.net/Plans-and-Programs/Long-Range-Transportation-Plan/LRTP-2010/

For more information, contact Kelly Jimenez at 714-560-5421 or via email at kjimenez@octa.net

Ride, compare electric bicycles Dec. 7

Myron's electric bicycle shop

Sam Townsend, owner of Myron’s Extreme Machines, one of Orange County’s largest electric bicycle dealers, is offering customers a chance to test ride and compare models of electric bicycles Saturday, Dec. 7.

Here’s a chance to ride an electric bicycle, and compare brands.

Myron’s Extreme Machines, Fullerton’s Electric Bicycle Center, is having an electric bicycle show 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 7.

All the bicycle brands sold by the shop will be available for test rides, Sam Townsend, owner, told the Veggie Biking. “We stock a total of 12 different brands and over 50 floor models to choose from making us one of the largest retail stores in the nation to sell electric bikes,trikes,and kits. We even stock an electric motorized trailer,” he writes on his web site.

Brands Include: iZip, eflow, eZip, E-motion, Motiv, Hebb, EG Bike, e-Joe, Juiced, eMoto, and BionX.

Myron’s, as a store, has 25 years experience selling and servicing gas and electric bikes. The shop offers test rides and side-by-side comparisons of bike brands. The Veggie Biker recently took a test ride on a pedal-assist electric bike that interests him. He has his electric Hebb bicycle serviced by Sam.

The store is open six days a week, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday thru Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays.

The store started dealing in electric bikes in 1988. However, the lithium battery kicked off the electric bicycle industry in 2008.  Over the last 5 years electric bikes have been the fastest growing segment of the bicycle industry, Sam writes.

There are bike shops in Orange County who do not let customers test ride electric bikes. This is a chance to try before you buy.

Neighbors United for Fullerton, bicyclists lobby county

This Press Release was forwarded to Veggie Biking By Vince Buck, North Orange County Bicycle Advocacy Coalition (NOCBAC)

neighborsunitedforfullertonlogoNeighbors United for Fullerton (NUFF) is offering a chance Monday night for bicyclists tired of the biking deaths in The O.C. to lobby County Supervisor Shawn Nelson to make the streets physically safer. Nelson also sits on the Orange County Transportation Authority who controls much of the funding for developing bicycle lanes and sharrows.

THE PRESS RELEASE READS:

On Monday, November 18, 2013, Public Library:

“ISSUES IN THE OC??? with SUPERVISOR SHAWN NELSON
What are the major issues facing the OC today? Orange County Supervisors Chair Shawn Nelson will answer this and other questions at a free public forum Monday, Nov. 18 presented by Neighbors United for Fullerton (NUFF) in the Osborne Room of the Fullerton Public Library, 353 West Commonwealth, 6:45 to 8:30 p.m.

Nelson, elected to the OC Board of Supervisors in 2010, will offer insights on countywide challenges, how the county government is responding, and what lies ahead. Following his presentation, there will be an opportunity to ask questions related to the topics.

A longtime Fullerton resident, Supervisor Nelson served on the Fullerton City Council from 2002 to 2010, serving twice as Mayor, and has been active in numerous civic and youth athletics organizations. In his capacity as Supervisor, he is also a member of the audit oversight committee (Chair), Orange County Transportation Authority (Vice-Chair), Southern California Regional Rail Authority (Metrolink), Orange County Council of Governments, Orange County Housing Authority Board of Commissioners, South Coast Air Quality Management District, Southern California Association of Governments, Southern California Water Committee and the Transportation Corridor Agency.

Supervisor Nelson has been an outspoken advocate for fiscal restraint and accountability, and he has written about his interest in improving transportation options, notably bikeways in our district. He has expressed concerns about High Speed Rail and has opposed implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
# # #
__________________________________________________________________________________________

Neighbors United For Fullerton is a nonpartisan organization committed to maintaining and enhancing the quality of life in the city of Fullerton, CA through political action. We offer public forums in which we present information of community interest and opportunities for civic involvement. Membership is open to anyone interested in making a difference in the community in which we live and work.

Bell Gardens bicycle Tour de Sewer rolls Saturday

For those of us who used to ride our bikes in the Bell Gardens storm water drains, this seems like a bicycle event we should not miss. However, I will. Just wait’ll next year, homies!

TourdeSewer

 

 

Bicyclists advocate Complete Streets, not Traffic Sewers

An O.C. bicyclist gives directions to new users of the Metrolink Ticket Kiosk

An O.C. bicyclist gives directions to new users of the Metrolink Ticket Kiosk

Only nine out of 90 people surveyed at the University of California Irvine Active Transportation Forum Oct. 17 raised hands to indicate they believe bicycling is safe in Orange County.

Host, Barry Ross, chairman, Alliance for a Healthy Orange County, told the audience of many suits, fewer blue jeans—and about three bike helmets, “That’s why we are here.???

Some 200 politicians, government professionals, and pushy political activists eventually attended during the all-day forum. They want the California Car Culture to make room for walking and bicycling. Conversations were punctuated by such terms as “Complete Streets,??? “multimodal,??? intermodal,??? “last mile,??? “political will,??? and “wellness corridors.???

IT’S THE LAW

Complete Streets is not just a concept. Assembly Bill 1356, the Complete Streets Act, is a 2008 law.

In English, beginning January 2011, AB 1356 requires any local California government to write transportation plans that make sure all people can get to where they are going as easily as drivers of trucks and cars, whether they walk, bicycle, or use public transportation.

AB 1356 targets “pedestrians, bicyclists, children, persons with disabilities, seniors, movers of commercial goods, and users of public transportation.???

Governor Jerry Brown signed a second law Sept. 25, 2013. Senate Bill 99, the Active Transportation Act. consolidates funding of the Bicycle Transportation Account (BTA), the Recreation Trails Program (RTP), The Environmental Mitigation Program (EEM) and Safe Routes. It creates a single Active Transportation Program to promote bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, reads the analysis by California Parks and Recreation Society.

Among the citizens AB 1356 and SB 99 want to help are kids who cannot walk to school safely. Rye Baerg, Safe Routes to School, said 15 percent of urban congestion is parents dropping kids at schools. Pollution and congestion measurably drop when schools are out.

SIDEWALKS AND PAINT, OH, MY!

Baerg said Complete Streets projects begin with widening sidewalks, removing poles in the middle of the sidewalks and creating better street markings. He cited the city of Lancaster as a Complete Streets project. In the downtown and nearby neighborhoods, there are no stoplights, no stop signs. The design of streets psychologically encourages drivers to slow down.

On the other hand, Rock Miller, Stantec, said, Costa Mesa is a place where Complete Streets occurred by accident,. Stantec is an urban planning company with over 200 locations across the United States. Costa Mesa has the highest rate of bicycle commuters in all Orange County—2.8 percent. Costa Mesa never had a bicycle campaign. Its historic infrastructure encourages growth of bike use.

Currently, Miller said Irvine, like most Orange County communities, requires Miller to drive a car just to go from his Irvine office on one side of a boulevard to the Starbucks on the other side.

When 60 percent of people in a community believe bicycling is safe, Miller said, the community will develop a bicycle culture. Sharrow lanes, marked by the bike-and-chevron logos, encourage bicyclists to ride in the center of traffic lanes. It is shown sharrows change driver behavior almost immediately for the better without a public education campaign.

More bicycles do not equal more accidents; Just the opposite. However, he said, in public meetings, 30 percent of the public consistently oppose complete street designs by citing the worst-case accidents that have occurred in the current, poorly-designed environment.

Bikes compete with cars’ efficiency for up to 3 miles of travel. However, Miller said, data is only available for commuting. No one has measured recreational bicycling.

He said complete-street design even makes for better storm water management.

SETTING A POLITICAL AGENDA

A Fullerton street construction zone includes signs warning drivers to share the road.

A Fullerton street construction zone includes signs warning drivers to share the road.

But it all takes political will within a community.

KidWorks in Santa Ana is starting with the children, Ava Steaffens said. KidsWorks organizes CycLavia-like events in Santa Ana in which, for an evening, streets are closed and children and adults can ride freely. It is creating an understanding of what a bicycle-based lifestyle could be. KidsWorks also has workshops on bike repair and safety.

Latino Health Access  is addressing obesity in Santa Ana by creating walking and biking exercise programs. Gloria Giraldo said not only does California have freeways without people, but it has city streets without people. Her group is using a model from Guadalajara, Mexico, which was influenced by the City of Bogota, Colombia. The Veggie Biker observed how Bogota closes major streets on Sundays. Then residents fill the streets with bicycles in what is probably the original CycLavia.

Latino Health Access hopes to turn neighborhoods into wellness corridors using the Complete Streets program.

Giraldo said 25 percent of Active Transportation funds must go to disadvantaged neighborhoods. Economic development maps are used to identify these areas. Giraldo said there is much work to be done in SoCal. “Biking to work is seen in The O.C as what poor people do.??? She sees the political agenda being set with one citizen at a time, one street at a time.

HEALTH PLUS WEALTH

Complete Streets improves the health of everyone, said Baerg. Curb extensions reduced pedestrian injuries by 44 percent in New York City. Walkers and bikers have fewer sick days. Businesses make even more money because walkers and bikers spend more money in local stories.

CHANGE CULTURE OR LOSE COMPANIES

Complete Streets “is a complete culture change. Engineers are used to old ways,??? Baerg said. They are dedicated to traffic flow, not transportation of people. For example, they resist pedestrian buttons that stop traffic immediately when pushed.

And city governments and their electorate are equally resistant. They make emotional decisions and then look for the facts to support the decisions, said Charles Gandy, Livable Communities. The Austin native, who has moved to Long Beach to work on the Long Beach Active Transportation Project, said there are three kinds of cities: Bell Weather, Band Wagon and Backwater.

Cities wanting to develop economically are competing internationally with Bell Weather cities such as Austin, Denver and, yes, Groningen, The Netherlands. Band Wagon cities that just imitate some ideas are in danger of becoming Backwater cities.

He noted young workers are not interested in driving. Cities must focus on serving them. “Long Beach is not boutique city,??? Gandy said, but it is considered a Bell Weather city because it serves young workers.

Companies are leaving Orange County, Gandy said, because young, skilled workers don’t want o work in  car-centric O.C.

There are other benefits to being a Bell Weather. Just by separating bicycles from cars, Long Beach cut car crashes 50 percent.

Pauline chow, Safe Routes to School, said safer streets are not just nice. Twenty-five percent of traffic deaths and 10 percent of traffic injuries are to bicyclists and pedestrians, people who make only 16 percent of the trips.

SUCCESS WORRIES OCTA

The Orange County Transportation Authority  is worrying over success, said Charlie Larwood. By embracing Active Transportation, there is an increase in bicyclists using buses and trains. There is a shortage of bike racks on busses. Twenty-five percent of people riding the busses bicycle the last mile to their destinations. Larwood said OCTA is trying to add secure bicycle racks at bus stops.

Passengers just off the Metrolink train finds busses waiting for them, including those with bike racks, which are becoming in short supply as more bike and bus.

Passengers just off the Metrolink train finds busses waiting for them, including those with bike racks, which are becoming in short supply as more bike and bus.

Even more critical is the statement by a panelist that in a decade, 20 percent of Orange County residents will be over 65 years of age. OCTA speakers said they are very concerned how these less-active citizens, who may no longer drive, get from their homes to the busses and Metrolink.

OCTA is also backing a proposal to add bike lanes in front of all schools and reducing the car lanes to one in each direction. OCTA wants to make children walking and riding bikes to school more attractive than parents driving.

Pamela Galera, Anaheim city planner, said the city’s goal is to reduce driving inside the city by 120,000 miles per day. And reducing school drop-offs will help make the goal reachable.

REDESIGNING TRAFFIC SEWERS

“We are not going to build any more freeways in this area,??? Hasan Ikhrata, Southern California Association of Governments, said. “That’s over.???

But the car is not going away, either, another panelist said.

Frank Peters, bicycle advocate and publisher of CDM Cyclist, denounced “traffic sewers??? such as the Pacific Coast Highway. Designed by 1950s traffic engineers just to move cars, it now must be redesigned as a complete street.

Creating political will for Complete Streets and Active Transportation is a hard challenge, said Los Angeles Bike Coalition executive director, Jennifer Klausner. Every time a project crosses a political boundary, cities fight over the details.

But equally challenging, Klausner said, is “bicycle tribalism. They don’t talk to each other. They want different things.???

Ross said he dreams of a Second Annual Active Transportation Forum in 2014. It appears Orange County politicians and advocates will probably need it to sort out a healthy future.