California law proposes 3 e-bike classifications

An electric bicycle with pedal assist, but capable of 28 miles per hours, would be banned from bike trails under the proposed law.

An electric bicycle with pedal assist, but capable of 28 miles per hour, would be banned from bike trails under the proposed law. Bikes capable of only 20 miles per hour could use most bike trails.

Bicycle Retailer reports today the California legislature will start hearings Monday on a bill to classify all e-bikes. A similar move is underway in New York State. The Retailer reported:

“AB-1096, sponsored by Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco, would create three classifications of e-bikes: Class 1 for pedal-assist bikes, or pedelecs; Class 2 for bikes with throttles; and Class 3 for “speed??? pedelecs. Class 1 and 2 e-bikes would be limited to an assisted speed of 20 miles an hour, while a Class 3 bike could reach an assisted speed of 28 miles an hour.

“The bill also defines where each type of e-bike could be ridden.

“Class 1 bikes could go wherever traditional bikes are allowed, while Class 2 bikes would be limited to paved surfaces. Class 3 bikes would be restricted to roads or bikeways that are adjacent to a road.

“In a nod to concerns from cities and counties, the measure allows local governments to opt out of allowing e-bikes on bike paths or trails.”

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O.C. cities encouraged to write bicycle safety grants

Jan Flory on BikeShare

Jan Flory, Fullerton City Council member, test rides a BikeShare bicycle. Bikeshare, which permits citizens to rent bicycles for short trips around town, is part of the county Active Transportation Program to replace cars with walking, biking and public transportation.

Orange County cities are being encouraged by county officials to write bicycle safety grants in the face of bicycle deaths across The O.C., The Voice of O.C. reports.  They are also trying to educate county citizens that bicycles are not just recreational toys, but are serious commuting options.

Nick Gerda writes, “As local transportation officials ramp up bike safety efforts amidst a rising toll of biking deaths, they’re encouraging cities to apply for millions of dollars in new state grants to fuel construction of more bike and pedestrian projects.”

He reports there is $180 million in Active Transportation Program funding statewide, with another $13 million set aside for Orange County. Active transportation refers to encouraging walking, bicycling and the use of public transportation instead of a car.

City applications are due May 21.

BikeShare stations officially launched in Fullerton

Bike Nation Mechanic, Christian Vallejo was polishing the BikeShare rides before today's dedication ceremony, until early guests started asking questions.

Bike Nation Mechanic, Christian Vallejo was polishing the BikeShare rides before today’s dedication ceremony, until early guests started asking questions.

Inexpensive bicycle rental has come to Fullerton. And it is among the things marking the beginning of the end of the freeway culture.

County Supervisor Shawn Nelson hosted a gaggle of politicians at the South of Commonwealth Parking Garage in a dedication ceremony making official the BikeShare partnership between BikeNation, the County of Orange, the Orange County Transportation Authority and the City of Fullerton.

Nelson said the country is at an end of an era of freeway construction. The future belongs to trains, buses and bicycles.

BikeShare currently has 11 stations across the city. Two more are planned. And two more are hoped for, the BikeShare website reports. Currently, they serve the flat areas of Fullerton. St. Jude Medical Center will have to wait.

BikeShare Map

Blue tags mark BikeShare stations from which you can pick up a bike and ride. The red tags are stations being planned.

The stations consists of bike rack holding a row of bicycles and a vending kiosk where, with the swipe of a credit card, one can purchase a daily, monthly or annual membership permitting one to ride as much as one wants at no extra charge–if one plans trips of less than 30 minutes per bike.

Shawn Nelson

County Supervisor Shawn Nelson takes a turn on a rental bike. It was noted by many he did not wear a helmet for this test ride around the parking plaza.

“Passes cost $5 for a one-day pass and $12 for a 7-day pass. Annual memberships are available to frequent users for $75,” the OCTA website reads. “There is also a discounted $45 annual membership for students. Bike rides lasting longer than 30 minutes will incur an overtime charge of $2 to $5 per 30 minutes.”

Others attending today’s dedication included the mayor pro tem of Fullerton, Greg Sebourn; City Council Woman Jan Flory; and North Orange County Community College District Trustee Leonard Lahtinen.

City of Fullerton Bike Users Subcommittee members

City of Fullerton Bike Users Subcommittee Members Vince Buck, Jane Rand, and John Carroll, speak with City Councilwoman Jan Flory (right of center). The committee reviews policies, plans and projects affecting bicycle travel within the city. The committee meets at 5 p.m. the third Wednesday of each month.

The short ceremony was followed by an opportunity for attendees to ride BikeShare rigs.

Christian Vallejo & Jane Rands

Jane Rands gets an explanation of the gearing on the BikeShare bicycles from Christian Vallejo, Bike Nation Mechanic. The bikes are nearly indestructible because of safe-guards that a first-time user must learn.

The chatter among those bikers attending, who have tried the BikeShare equipment, is one really can ride all day for the price of a membership if one rides from one bike station to another in less than 30 minutes, swaps rides, and then proceeds to the next station in under 30 minutes.

Only two complaints were heard. The rugged bikes are not speedy, $2,000 touring bikes; and if a rider meets a friend and stops to talk, as happens often in Fullerton, the rider probably will pay BikeShare an overtime charge.

Simple changes in cities increasing bicycle safety

octalogo2Bicycle advocates concerned about bicycle deaths were told Monday authorities are already “collecting low-hanging fruit” to solve bike safety challenges, according to The Voice of O.C.

At a workshop in Irvine, Orange County Transportation Authority officials told dozens of activists of initial successes, writes Nick Gerda. Irvine saw a 27-percent reduction in traffic collisions involving bicycles from 2012 to 2013 with the city on a similar track this year, said city police Lt. Tom Allan, after simple outreach programs.

  • Irvine City staffers visit schools to educate teenagers about safe routes to schools, and have held 11 bike rodeos to teach bike safety to children.
  • Irvine law enforcement officials said they’ve had success with diversion, in which they allow youth cyclists who get tickets to take a safety class instead of going to traffic court.

Others listed similar small changes that are yielding results.

  • Orange County sheriff’s Deputy Mike Matranga encouraged cyclists to call cities and report issues such as cars cutting off bikes or driving too close so officials can locate problem spots.
  • Newport Beach biking activist Frank Peters pointed to bicycle-based police as being able to show drivers how bikes behave on the road.

Veggie Biking readers can read the lengthy Voice of O.C. article at: http://www.voiceofoc.org/county/article_83722070-c50b-11e3-8b94-001a4bcf887a.html

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.