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.

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.

 

Orange County can aspire to be this bicycling friendly

Link provided by Carlo Ritschl, Denver, CO, bicycle commuter

Orange County is not going to be truly friendly to bicycling by adding a 30 miles of bicycle trails or some bike racks. It takes decades of commitment.

Like most places in the world, the fault lies not in Orange County politics, but in is original design. But Groningen, The Netherlands, offers one vision of perfection for which the county can strive as it hosts the Active Transportation Forum at the University of California Irvine tomorrow, Oct. 18.

Starting out as a castle town in which houses could sprawl beyond the walls easily, the town’s concentrated population of 190,000 gave a liberal government the opportunity to design a bicycle town, beginning in the 1970s, reports The Atlantic Monthly.

“Groningen is the result of very specific policy decisions made a generation ago, which built on the city’s existing advantages,” The Atlantic Monthly reports. The Active Transportation Forum is an attempt to catalog those advantages and build upon them.

The result of 40 years of focused bicycle policies is that half of all trips in this city are by bike. The average person makes 10 bikes trips per week. One can still own a car, but why?

Buena Park Police not told of 3-foot bike buffer

buena park police logo

There is no evidence Buena Park police officers have been briefed of the Sept. 16 enactment of the 3-foot bicycle safety buffer zone.

The question about Buena Park Police training in bicycle law arose after an incident on Crescent in which the Veggie Biker believes a car came much closer than three-feet to him. A Buena Park police car was driving just behind and to the left of the silver compact sedan during the incident.

A violation of AB1371 would be punishable by fines starting at $35. If unsafe passing results in a crash that injures the cyclist, the driver could face a $220 fine.

Corporal Andy Luong, public information officer and police training officer said he is aware of the law. However, he has sent out no information about the new law as part of his training officer duties. He said, in a telephone interview Monday afternoon, if he receives such information from the police chief, he will disburse it.

Luong said he was unaware of any modification to the California bicycle laws by the Buena Park City Council. Fullerton has a law banning bicycles on downtown sidewalks, for example.

The police enforce the California traffic code as it applies to bicycles, Luong said. He cited riding on the wrong side of the street and not wearing a helmet by people under 18 years of age as common tickets.

The city of Buena Park, it appears when one consults the Orange County Transportation Authority Map, has never accommodated bicycle commuters in the city. There are no bicycle lanes and no share-the-road streets shown on the map. Cities surrounding Buena Park show large networks of such accommodations.

Riding across Buena Park at twilight some days is a series of missed opportunities to die.

Yet there is no training even as bicycle commuting becomes more common. Luong said, “No special training on bikes I’m aware of.”

 

Future Fullerton Bikeshare memberships available

2013_8_Rideshare_BikeLink_MembershipW

OCTA has announced a new bike sharing program for Fullerton.

Basically, you rent a bike, ride it to the next rental station, and leave it. It has been proven effective in such large cities as Denver and Washington, D.C.

The are many questions that are not answered in this poster or the website. Here are some of the answers from OCTA BikeLink and other sources you need to understand the potential value of BikeLink in your life.

  1. There are said to be 10 stations initially planned in Fullerton: Fullerton Train Station, Fullerton City Hall Complex, Cal State Fullerton,  Fullerton College and College Plaza Shopping Center. But that’s only five stations on the list; and the map only shows eight stations.
  2. During the two-year pilot program, BikeLink bikes will operate only within the city of Fullerton.
  3. Meanwhile, Bike Nation, a Tustin-based company, which is the company it appears is installing the bikes in Fullerton (it is never stated clearly), has installed 10 kiosks and 100 bikes in Anaheim. Initial reviews from Veggie Biking audience members say that system is less than satisfactory.
  4. BikeNation’s 4,000-bike Los Angeles bike sharing program is reported by the Los Angeles Times to be on hold until a financial backer or an advertising program can be found to augment the program’s, rental fees.
  5. There is no mention of reciprocity between the Fullerton and Anaheim systems. So you cannot, it appears, take bikes from one city to the other, a natural thing for college students to do.
  6. You can buy a one-day or seven-day Fullerton Bikelink Access Pass* from any OCTA BikeLink station. It appears you must use a credit card for this, as a $100 refundable deposit is placed on the card every time you rent a bike. Can you charge a trip using your smartphone as in Washington, D.C., or do you have to use the Kiosk?
  7. A BikeLink Access Pass ranges from $5 for a one-day Pass to $12 for a seven-day pass.
  8. The first 30 minutes of riding on every trip is free.
  9. If your trip is longer than 30 minutes you will be charged overtime fees (see pricing).
  10. Or you can buy an annual pass which gives you an annual membership card with which you can simply tap the kiosk and remove a bicycle.
  11. Annual memberships are available for purchase online.
  12. If there are no empty docks, go to the kiosk, swipe your credit card and you will receive a 15-minute credit. You will then be directed to the nearest station with empty docks. (Do you get a free bus pass to get back to where you wanted to be?)
  13. You can check the BikeLink station map online prior to your ride for real-time information such as available docks and bikes.
  14. However, there is no mention of using the smartphone Spotcycle app which gives information for over 40 cities world wide, including Long Beach.
  15. The bicycles have easy adjusting seat posts with calibration marks to ensure the right seat height for you every ride. The bicycles also have step-thru frames for ease of use and low center of gravity.
  16. The BikeLink bicycle utilizes airless tires and chainless shaft-driven drivetrain.
  17. All the bicycles have baskets in the front for your personal belongings.
  18. DO NOT ABANDON YOUR CHECKED-OUT BICYCLE IF IT DOESN’T WORK!, warns OCTA. It remains your responsibility until properly returned. Return and lock it at the dock and push the red mechanics button on the dock.You can return the bike at any of the stations located in the city of Fullerton. Simply put the bike into any available dock, wait for the green light to blink to make sure it locks and you are done until your next ride. (Is there a pick-up service such as the bike rental shops provide?)
  19. Call the OCTA Bikelink 24-hour Customer Service Center at 800.980.7942 if you have any questions.

OCTA asks you share this information a friend or associate. If you want questions answered in person, you can bike to the Orange County Transportation Authority, 550 S. Main St., Orange, CA, 92863-1584.

Bicycle turn signals, lights, and brake light combinations available

bicygnalsThe Veggie Biker replaced a busted taillight with the Bicygnals tail light and turn signal system. The control unit with headlight and turn signal are on the front handle bars. The rear light and turn signal mounts on the seat post.They are connected wirelessly.

Of course, what the veggie guy really wanted was the wireless lights, turn signals and brake light system. But only a few prototypes have been released and are hard to get. You can find wired systems.

The Bicygnals two units nestle together in a small pouch in your brief case. When you are ready to ride, take the front and back units apart, turn each on, watch them blink a few times to indicate they are synched, then snap them onto their handlebar and seat mounts. They snap off easily, too.

Only small problem: The turn signal blinks about 65 times, then turns itself off. A great help 90 percent of the time. However, in a long lane of left-turning traffic, the signal will turn off just as you face off with the car across the intersection.

For Amazon Prime members, the Bicygnals unit arrives in two days.

There is a helmet device, also, but the Veggie Biker had already rigged his helmet with cheap flashing lights and a mirror. And this weekend I saw flashing lights one can weave between your spokes.

Bike Coalition members advocate Fullerton pursue easy bike safety fixes ASAP

Fullerton Sharrow Logo

The City of Fullerton is looking at “low-hanging fruit” improvements in bicycle transportation safety, including painting signs to create sharrows–traffic lanes in which motorists are informed bicycles by law have full rights to use traffic lanes. It would be the first improvement in 15 months.

By Jane Rands, North Orange County Bicycle Advocates Coalition
Fullerton City bicycle advocates are pushing for inexpensive initial improvements now in bicycle safety in the city while pursuing larger projects.
A long overdue North Orange County Bicycle Advocates Coalition (NOCBAC) gathering of the usual crowd with the usual fare (pizza and beer) met Aug. 5 at Davis Barber’s office at the Villa Del Sol in Fullerton.
Among the attendees were OCTA Citizens’ Advisory Committee (CAC) members, Vince Buck, Roy Shahbazian, and Laurel Reimer, and Alta Planning consultant, Paul Martin, who is assisting OCTA in developing the Districts 1 & 2 Bikeways Strategic Plan, which is currently in public review.
The Fullerton City Council will be discussing bicycle issues at an upcoming meeting, possibly August 20.  Vince Buck thought that NOCBAC should recommend some inexpensive bicycling facilities such as signage and sharrows.  NOCBAC members shared ideas, such as signage to fill gaps in class II and class III routes, sharrows where bike lanes abruptly end and should be placed outside of the door zone, and resurfacing roads, especially the shoulders.
Cities are adopting a common nomenclature to describe biking facilities. Class I bike routes are completely separate from traffic. Class II bike routes have on-street, outlined bike lanes. Class III bike routes are streets with signs denoting that it is a bicycle route; which can be the hash-marks-and-bicycle icon, sharrow, painted on the street.
CAC members noted that $4 million in federal Clean Air funds will be available in the fall as grants through Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) for projects that are “shovel ready,” like segments in the Bikeways Master Plan that just need paint or signage.
Fullerton Mobility Planner, Jay Eastman, has applied for a grant through the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) to fund the planning phase of the Wilshire Bike Boulevard.  The bike boulevard will help riders traversing between California State University-Fullerton and downtown Fullerton via the upcoming “BikeLink” bike sharing sponsored by OCTA.  Buck expressed concern over waiting for another grant to implement the bike boulevard.  Instead, NOCBAC can advocate for inexpensive initial improvements.
Wikipedia has more information on bicycling infrastructure around the world.