OCTA hosts BikeShare dedication, Earth Day Celebration

octabikesharededicationFROM ELECTRONIC PRESS RELEASE

The Orange County Transportation Authority will celebrate a green way to get around at the OCTA BikeShare system dedication and Earth Day Celebration 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. April 22 at the parking garage across Harbor from the Fullerton Transportation Center and Metrolink Train station.

OCTA asks citizens to “join us as we thank our partners and hear from OCTA’s Chairman and CEO in moving forward with the project.”

In addition, the event web site promises prizes and savings.

Win!

In honor of Earth Day and National Bike Month (May), we also invite you to test ride our bikes and be entered into a drawing to win an iPad Mini, an annual BikeShare membership, or a GIRO helmet!

Save!

As an added bonus, anyone signing up for an annual membership during the month of May 2014 will receive a 20% discount! For more information on pricing or how BikeShare works, visit: www.octa.net/bikeshare.

Event Details
April 22, 2014
9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
SoCo Fullerton Parking Structure
150 W. Santa Fe Avenue
Fullerton, CA 92832

Those wishing to attending are asked to RSVP. (http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/3BQXGWD?j=60989079&e=vbuck@fullerton.edu&l=1307058_HTML&u=1106801965&mid=96936&jb=0)

BikeShare is a system of rental bikes placed about Fullerton and other cities by Bike Nation USA so commuters may renat a bike at one place, using a credit card, and ride to another for a low-cost daily or monthly membership. BikeShare aims to have 15 such locations in Fullerton.

O.C. Bicyclists meeting Wednesday to lobby Fullerton

Fullerton Sharrow LogoFrom Vince Buck, North Orange County Bicycle Advocacy Coalition (NOCBAC)

North Orange County Bicycle Advocacy Coalition members are tentatively scheduled to meet on Wednesday, March 12, to plan their presentations of bicycle issues to the Fullerton City Council March 18.

NOCBAC will meet in Davis Barber’s office at 7 p.m. on the top floor of Villa Del Sol, 305 N Harbor Blvd, Fullerton. Pizza will appear (contributions appreciated), but it is BYOB.

The Fullerton City Council will hear a report on bicycle issues in Fullerton at their March  18 meeting. This is a good opportunity to address the council of one’s concerns. There is the feeling that the city is currently  at a standstill in spite of a potentially supportive council. A good  turnout of articulate advocates (e.g. you) is  important. It is important bikers who have never appeared before the council come so the Council does not view the usual suspects.

The following is a rough draft of a letter Buck Vince hopes to send to the city council. These issues and any others members believe are important will be discussed at the NOCBAC meeting. The idea is to create a list of three to four items to emphasize.

Vince Buck’s rough draft of his letter. He invites bicyclists to contact him to add projects to this list.

First, staffing. Recently our mobility coordinator, who served as staff to the City of Fullerton Bicycle Users’ Subcommittee and who was responsible for bicycle developments, left for a position in Riverside. Currently that position remains unfilled.  I would like to see that position occupied by someone who is committed to moving bicycle policy and infrastructure forward; and who will be listened to.

octalogo2I am also concerned that in the past few years we  have missed out on a number of funding opportunities. Orange County Transportation Authority  distributed over $15 million to 30 different projects county-wide in the last two cycles. Only one applicant was unfunded and some money was left on the table.

Brea, La Habra and Anaheim all were successful applicants. Brea has received nearly $8 million for a single project from a variety of sources including OCTA. Costa Mesa received approximately $2.25 million from OCTA for five projects including trails, bike racks, a signal and educational efforts. Even though it was known that much of OCTA funding in the 2012 cycle was earmarked for the 4th supervisorial district (because a “connectivity study” had recently  be concluded here) Fullerton did not apply for any of this money.

In fact Fullerton did not apply in either year. And another year is approaching. We need a knowledgeable person to write grants.

In addition to staffing and funding, I would like to see action on the following:

  • Wilshire bike boulevard. There is strong neighborhood support for this but little forward movement. We have obtained a planning grant, but this will take time to complete and the project could easily and inexpensively  be started on a trial basis. Several residents of this neighborhood have asked me when the proposed bike boulevard will be put in place. This and similar routes are critical to the success of the bike sharing program.
  • St. Jude/Rolling Hills Class I bikeway link. This link has been on our bikeways plan for some time and will connect Valencia Mesa/Youth Way to Rolling Hills. It is a critical part of our north Fullerton bikeway network and it is essential that this be included in the Bastanchury widening project. This should be a prime candidate for an OCTA grant.
  • Brea Creek/ Malvern Class I Route along the flood control channel from  Basque to the city line. This is a project that has the support of County Flood Control but the ball is in the city’s court. This is another link in the Valencia Mesa/Rolling Hills route that would extend across the entire city.
  • Courtesy http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/sharrows.htm

    Courtesy http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/sharrows.htm

    Sharrows (see attachment). Sharrows are used on bicycle routes where there is not sufficient room to install a Class II route.  They are now  widely used throughout the world. Locally, I have seen sharrows in Long Beach, Newport Beach, Anaheim, Los Angeles and San Diego. Jay Eastman drew up a draft policy for Fullerton, and the BUSC has discussed specific locations with Mark Miller. Sharrows are low cost and have a high impact. We need staffing  to move this forward.

  • Signage. There are Class III routes that have been on the plan for decades for which no signage has been installed . Also signs are missing on previously signed routes, such as Valencia Mesa and Wilshire. Jay Eastman reported to the BUSC that it would cost $3000 to replace those signs but that a line item was needed to fund that.

The above is a compendium of low-cost and high cost items.  We can and should move forward with the high visibility low cost items and apply for grants for the more expensive items.  I would also encourage the city to start thinking about the possibility of a bicycle pedestrian bridge over the  57 freeway at Madison, which is on the bicycle plan (which will relieve some of the growth pressure on the CollegeTown neighborhoods),  and the bicycle route along the UP right of way; but these are not as immediate as the above mentioned items.

There are individuals in important positions who can help (e.g. Shawn Nelson, Sharon Quirk-Silva). And I believe  that our council is the most supportive we have ever had in Fullerton, but it needs to make clear that safe bicycling is a priority.

Vast leaps forward are taking place in other cities across the nation from Long Beach to New York City . We need to join this movement and make our city more livable, more energy efficient and a more desirable place to live.

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.

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 are dying for OCTA public education

Freeway entrances are feared by bicyclists as California Transportation Authority  engineers replace bike lanes with acceleration lanes. It is an ugly conflict zome between car and bike.

Freeway entrances are feared by bicyclists as California Transportation Authority engineers replace bike lanes with acceleration lanes. It is an ugly conflict zone between car and bike.

Editorial

It was ugly.

The high-dollar, black sedan pulled up behind me. The driver laid on his horn scaring me and causing me to swerve. The car then swooped to my left and up next to me. He rolled down the window and began shouting, “Get off the road! Bicycles don’t belong here. There’s no bike lane here!???

I yelled back. “You’re wrong. You’re supposed to wait until I get by. You don’t know the law.???

 It got uglier.

We were in the north-bound entrance to Interstate 5. I was churning up the overpass and he was trying to enter the freeway. Most bicyclists fear freeway ramps where CalTrans just abandons us in a no-man’s land of accelerating cars.

Finally, he hit the gas, cut hard right in front of my bike and zoomed down the freeway ramp.

That was the second incident between a bicyclist and a car during my ride to work today. A bicyclist was riding properly on the right side of Commonwealth in Fullerton. He changed lanes safely, crossing traffic and entering the center, left-hand turn lane. He was turning into a strip mall.

A car behind him just had to honk at him for no reason.

Potentially Fatal Failure to Communicate

What we have here in Orange County is a potentially fatal failure to communicate.

octalogo2My Orange County Transportation Authority representative, Gail Eastman, asked this Veggie Biker to write a letter about the problems he observes commuting about Orange County. But, I also need a blog post this week to keep up my “Likes,??? so I am writing the letter as a post.

I have received similar (but not as violent) abuse from drivers of all descriptions. And I have observed bicyclists of all descriptions doing totally stupid things.

Most people, like the man today, appear to think bicycles should only be in bike lanes or, if there are no lanes, on the sidewalk.  Few bicyclists are aware that one must ride with traffic—even on the sidewalk. Few bicyclists,  and certainly no drivers, are aware several cities ban riding on sidewalks. And few pedestrians on a sidewalk want to get hit by a bike averaging 17 miles per hour.

But wait! There’s more! Bicyclists text while riding, nearly running into other bikers. I have seen this not just once, but several times.

And few if any drivers know they should check for bikes when opening car doors. Twice I’ve had drivers just stand there, zombie-like, unable to understand why I should be upset they almost “car-doored??? me.

And I was car-doored by a truck that stopped in the left lane, and the passenger jumped out into the bike lane. He hit the door. I didn’t.

Drivers and Bicyclists Never Trained

I believe much of the stupidity comes from the fact the California drivers’ test has only two bicycle questions, none relevant to anything above.

OCTA has a legal obligation to teach Orange County drivers and bikers California laws. The campaign has to be in English and Spanish. Most bicyclists with whom I commute appear to be poor immigrants.

I suggest the rear of every OCTA bus should have large posters that cars can read. “Yes, bicyclists can do this!??? The posters would show bicyclists riding properly in the street or making left-hand turns, as examples.

The right  sides of busses should be devoted to messages for bicyclists. (I do understand, that ad revenue pays many of the bills.)

As I noted in another post, riding in the older cities of North Orange County is just a series of missed opportunities to die. (I could not believe when I rode through Irvine Friday just how nice urban biking can be with a choice of trails and really wide bike lanes.)

Last Mile & Last Minute

Our OCTA representatives, including Ms. Eastman, are very concerned about the last mile problem. How do people (and Orange County is getting older every year) get from the train station and bus stops to their final destinations?

I suggest Marshrutkas. These yellow mini-busses zip around Ukrainian towns following a set route, but not set times. They can stop anywhere to get as close to anyone’s apartment as possible. It’s a “swarm??? of public transportation. Forget the big hogs that flex in the middle; Give people little busses that totally flex. (Using bicycles to haul supplies, instead of using large trucks, is how General Giap won the Vietnam War.)

The Metrolink gets better every day. I no longer drive to Los Angeles in the mornings. But it is the devil to go from North County to South County in the mornings—or to go anywhere in the middle of the day.

We need more trains going opposite directions at more times.

My wife retired because she no longer wanted to waste up to four hours of her life each day in the Orange Crush. She needed a train that left Fullerton at 6 a.m. and arrived in Tustin by 6:45 a.m. She could easily walk the two miles to her office—plus earn exercise points. She worked a 10-hour day, four days a week. But the trains stopped running northward before she could walk back to the station at night. And, as in North County, South County busses, are much slower than just walking or biking.

Our OCTA representatives are caught in a chicken-and-egg quandary. We voters must get on board the entire concept of mass transport, not just a bus or train.

I can’t solve this one. But I believe I can solve the problem of public ignorance about bicycling. Let’s just do it!

Road killings are going to happen

This Public Education program cannot wait until next year. People are dying for it. Really, It’s getting ugly out here.

white bike

The number of white bicycles often placed at the site of bicycle deaths could be reduced with an Orange County Transportation Authority bicycle rights and responsibilities campaign for drivers and bicyclists.