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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Dutch build freeways for e-bikes

Intercity bicycle motorways dedicated to 30 mph e-bikes could soon get the green light in Holland, reads a press release from the Environmental Transportation Association, a British non-profit insurance company. 

Bikes with the speed of a 50cc moped are popular in Holland and the e-bike freeway would allow commuters to move without frequent stops between four cities.

Germany and Switzerland have established a separate class for higher power electric bicycles. These bikes can travel at speeds of 30mph and face less stringent requirements than mopeds.

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https://www.eta.co.uk/2015/03/10/30-mph-bicycle-motorways-e-bike-commuters/

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

Goodbye! “Share the Road” confusing drivers

sharetheroadNOTFrom the Institute of Transportation Engineers Pedestrian and Bike Council Spring 2014 Newsletter.

“Share The Road”: It’s practically the national motto of cycling advocacy in the United States.

It’s the cycling “message” on license plates in Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin.

But not in Delaware. In fact, as of last November, just the opposite.

In November, the Delaware Department of Transportation announced that, effective immediately, Delaware would stop using the MUTCD-approved “Share The Road” plaque (W16-1P). More, the department would also start removing all “Share The Road” signs currently installed in Delaware.

How did the state’s cycling advocacy group Bike Delaware react to the announcement that Delaware’s department of transportation was abandoning “Share The Road?” Were there howls of outrage and a letter writing campaign to protest? Actually, Bike Delaware just said “Goodbye ‘Share The Road'”.

Despite its ubiquity and apparent iconic status, it turned out that “Share The Road” is actually an example of common ground between traffic engineers and cycling advocates. We both hated it and for the same reason: its unresolvable ambiguity.

For traffic engineers, with our many years of experience with traffic control devices, “Share The Road” is yet another example of “feel good” signage that placates an interest group but has no safety benefit and adds useless and distracting clutter to the visual landscape.

For cyclists in Delaware (and elsewhere), “Share The Road” had long been interpreted as a sign primarily directed at motorists. Cyclists thought it meant something like “Motorists: be cool.” But for many motorists, “Share The Road” is often interpreted as a sign primarily directed at cyclists and meant something more like“Bicyclists: don’t slow me down.” But we finally realized (after years of pointless yelling back and forth between cyclists and motorists, both yelling “Share The Road” at each other!), that “Share The Road” not only doesn’t help, it actually contributes to conflict and confusion.

“Bicycle May Use Full Lane”

In Delaware, our important task now is to figure out the warrant for the “Bicycle May Use Full Lane” sign.

Perhaps the biggest point of conflict between motorists and cyclists is when cyclists “take the lane” (e.g. cycle in the middle of a travel lane on narrow two lane roads with double yellow lines and without any shoulders). This can sometimes make motorists traveling behind angry. But there is a solid reason that cyclists sometimes ride like this.

Riding at the right hand edge of a travel lane is an invitation for cars behind to pass. That’s fine. But where a double yellow line also exists, it is very easy for a motorist to interpret the combination of the cyclist at the right hand edge of the lane and the double yellow line separating her lane from the lane of oncoming traffic as an invitation to pass in the travel lane. But on roads where the travel lanes are only 10 or 11 feet, this is a potentially catastrophic misunderstanding. The only way for a motorist to safely pass a cyclist when the travel lane is that narrow is to (at least partially) exit her travel lane (into the lane of oncoming traffic).

This type of situation is an example of where the Bicycle May Use Full Lane (and shared lane pavement markings) can both help. The sign delivers a clear traffic control message that makes an ambiguous and confusing traffic situation clearer – for both motorists and cyclists. It’s a big, big improvement over that other sign…what was it called again?
wilson_luszcz-240x177
James Wilson is the executive director of Bike Delaware. 
Mark Luszcz is the chief traffic engineer of the Delaware Department of Transportation.

School Bicycle Rodeos promote love of bikes

anaheimbikesafetyposter

EDITORIAL

For the Veggie Biker and many an older California sprocket jockey, Bicycle Rodeos at our elementary schools are how we learned to use bicycles for everyday getting about.

The Veggie Biker’s wife, who was educated in Missouri, still remembers Robert Louis Stevenson–Right, Left, Stop. However, our children, educated in Oklahoma, had no bicycle rodeos–or any other training. They learned bicycling astride a 16-inch bike pointed downhill with dear old dad puffing alongside. They have bikes, but do not use them for daily transportation.

Education through Bicycle Rodeos not only promotes bicycle safety, it promotes love of bicycles.

We can do something about this. With the new emphasis on active transportation–bikes, buses, trains and sneakers–we can add the bicycle rodeo to our school’s curriculum and the city’s active transportation program.

The U.S. government-sponsored program is already in place. We just need to promote it locally. We just need to volunteer.

 

Open Streets National Summit, L.A. CicLAvia April 4-6

ciclovialogoWhen the Veggie Biker stood on a curb in Bogota, Colombia, in 2002 watching gaggles of bicyclists hurry by on car-forsaken streets, he had no idea what Ciclovia was, or that a version of it, CicLAvia, would come to Los Angeles some day.

CicLAvialogoSunday, April 6, long stretches of streets in Los Angeles are closed to cars from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and bicyclists of all sizes and abilities can wheel freely down the middle of boulevards.

OpenStreetsProjectlogoOn the same weekend, April 4-6, The Open Streets National Summit meets in Los Angeles Friday through Sunday to promote bicycling in America.  For $365 one can participate in three-days of discussions about the future of bicycling.

The Open Streets National Summit writes it will have “featured sessions for both novice and experienced Open Streets organizers, led by experts from the Open Streets Project, CicLAvia and other local organizers.

  • Building a coalition of supporters
  • Outreach to key community partners and stakeholders
  • Marketing and branding
  • Choosing a route
  • Sponsorship and fundraising
  • Organizing and recruiting volunteers
  • Evaluating your initiative”

One may view the full agenda here.

“The weekend will also contains plenty of time for participants to network with one another,” Open Streets writes, “while attending CicLAvia on Sunday afternoon.”