Monday, November 24, 2014

Rehoboth looks to ban or severely limit bicycling on the Boardwalk


Right now, the Rehoboth Board of City Commissioners is considering an ordinance that would ban or severely limit bicycling on the Boardwalk. If you disagree, let them know.

Cape Gazette -- Summer bike rides on the Boardwalk in Rehoboth Beach could be a thing of the past.

While at least one business owner warned against overreacting, Rehoboth officials are considering banning bicycles during the summer or reducing the hours they are permitted. Another option is changing the dates bicycles can be ridden on the Boardwalk.

Police Chief Keith Banks said this year saw more complaints about bicyclists speeding down the Boardwalk coming from both citizens and from city police officers, who reported several close calls.

Banks said the Boardwalk was overcrowded during the summer; adding to the problem was the number of joggers wearing headphones not able to hear their surroundings.

Two children were struck by cyclists, and other incidents may not have been reported, Banks said.

City ordinance bans bicycles on the Boardwalk after 10 a.m. from May 15 to Sept. 15. Banks said the ordinance has become difficult to enforce; during the past summer, he said, Rehoboth Beach Patrol helped alert people to get their bikes off the Boardwalk after 10 a.m.

The commissioners were wary banning bicycles entirely. [Full story ...]

You can sign the petition HERE.

Celebrate Mid-Atlantic Bike Culture at the Inside Line Bike Expo

From the event website -- The inaugural Inside Line bike expo will take place on Saturday March 7, 2015 in Newark, Delaware, and will feature 100+ bike (and related) industry vendors of all stripes, across all bicycling disciplines, in a fun, vibrant, festival-like atmosphere featuring music, beer, games, raffles, things to ride bikes on, and of course, bikes, bikes and more BIKES!! You see, this is no ordinary trade show. At its core this event is designed to be a FUN, first-class celebration of bike culture in the Mid-Atlantic region, with the goal of getting people more excited about riding bikes.

History: For years now we’ve been thinking about how we lack a bike expo that appeals to the masses of cyclists that call the Mid-Atlantic region home. We have a number of bike swap meets and niche expo events in the area, and while each of these are excellent events that appeal to a slice of the bike community, none of them appeal to the breadth of cycling disciplines represented around here. So we figured since no one was stepping up to the plate to create an event that appeals to cyclists of all stripes, we would do it. And we would do it well. So Inside Line was born.

Inside Line was created to bring together the diverse cycling community in the Mid-Atlantic region for an off-season celebration of all things bike. We’re inviting a huge number of bike industry and related industry vendors to this thing so you will all have a chance to meet them, hear about what these companies and organizations are up to, learn about what’s new with different product lines, buy some gear, RIDE THE PUMPTRACK and more. Come out, make some new friends, and be inspired to ride your bike more. You’ll be glad you did.

326 RUTHAR DRIVE, NEWARK (Ogletown), Delaware, 19713


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Poster's note: Look for future postings as the event date on March 7th, 2015 draws closer.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Greenville Village Study fails to address on-road bicycle safety

Above: Bicyclists riding through Greenville on Kennett Pike - the only efficient means in which to to do so.
(picture courtesy of the Greenville Village Plan)


From Delaware Greenways -- Partnering with the New Castle County Department of Land Use and the Delaware Department of Transportation, Delaware Greenways conducted the first of several public meetings for the Greenville Village Study and Special Area Plan on May 8, 2014 at A. I. DuPont High School. The purpose of the meeting was to introduce the public to the study and solicit input on four questions which the study and the resultant special area plan will address.

Assisting at the meeting were volunteers from the Board of Directors of both Delaware Greenways and the Kennett Pike Association and the Brandywine Valley National Scenic Byway Partnership. [Full article ...]

Poster's note: The next workshop for this project will likely be scheduled early next year. You can view the latest workshop notifications on DelDOT's website. Transportation and recreation bicyclists who depend on roads like Kennett Pike need to attend. As more pathways are built in view of motorists, their tolerance of bicycles using the roads will decline. The only mention of bicycles so far was the following: "A village square or central park was suggested as a missing element as were better bicycle and pedestrian connections so residents can walk and bike to the commercial and other areas, open spaces and schools and perhaps a trail along the railroad". Straight away, it appears that the emphasis is on off-road pathways, which will serve limited needs for most transportation and recreational bicyclists traveling the Route 52 corridor.

The State of Maryland is already using
this sign. DelDOT is considering
something similar.
It should be noted that road bicycling advocates have thrown their full support behind the First State Trails and Pathways Plan (FSTPP) since its inception, because we know that off road facilities are a vital part of any balanced bicycle-friendly community or network. Unfortunately, advocates for bike paths and trails are weak on reciprocation.

Advocates have maintained for years that Kennett Pike through Greenville is a hostile environment for bicyclists, given 4 lanes of curb to curb traffic and no shoulder. Despite aggressive drivers and a lack of bicycle facilities, it is still commonplace to see folks riding this stretch of road in the right lane, usually traveling to and from Centerville and points north and west. Advocates have asked repeatedly for the right lane in each direction to be designated as a shared bike lane/car lane, or at the least, have "Bicycles May Use Full Lane" signs installed. A recent improvement did include the addition of bicycle warning signs, but this is much less effective compared to a bicycle lane or even Sharrows. Bike Delaware has opposed the latter idea because of the 35 mph speed limit, even though MUTCD guidance makes this exception.


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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Bob Mionske on the 3-foot passing law

From Slowtwitch -- The narrative on our reader forum last week troubled me. Taken at face value it seemed a California Highway Patrol officer predisposed against cyclists interpreted the state's new 3-foot law as a way to take it out on a cohort he doesn't like. Of course, there may be more to the story (there often is). Happily, if this officer is cyclist-averse, he's likely in the small minority. I interviewed the CHP about this incident and about California's 3-foot law in general.

Then I turned to Bob Mionske for his take. Bob is an Olympic cyclist and the dean of bicycle accident attorneys. More than that, he's an expert on the rights of cyclists under the law. While California is not a state in which Mr. Mionske practices he's well acquainted with the elements of California's Motor Vehicle Code pertaining to cyclists.

SLOWTWITCH: With the advent of the 3-foot minimum buffer afforded bicyclists by a motorist when passing, a conflict created by the vehicle code can arise, and arose via a citation written in a rural part of San Diego County last week. When the Legislature passed the new 3-foot law there was no corresponding modification of Vehicle Code Section 21460, which restricts motorists from crossing a double yellow. My question: If, on a rural 2-lane road, an officer gives a motorist a citation for part of the vehicle crossing the double yellow in order to grant the cyclist room, assuming there was clearly sufficient room to do so without peril from an oncoming vehicle, what is the likeliest scenario in a courtroom if the motorist decides to contest this citation?

BOB MIONSKE: Technically, it's against the law. [Continue reading ...]

Poster's note:  Delaware too has no legal exception allowing drivers to cross the double yellow line to pass bicyclists.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Trails community lends little support for on-road advocacy

Rachel Anderson promotes a brand new off-road connection in Pike Creek, between Paper Mill Park and neighboring communities ... on her road bike.

The evidence suggests that mountain bicyclists seldom participate in efforts to improve on-road bicycle safety. Despite this, the League of American Bicyclists has embraced mountain biking as part of the National Bike Summit. Here at home, the Delaware Trails Summit was combined with the Delaware Bike Summit in 2014, creating the first annual "Heels and Wheels" Summit. It all sounds like one big happy family, however ...
  • No evidence of support for a recent petition asking DelDOT to develop a new road sign warning motorists of bicyclists using the roadway. The response so far has been dismal.
  • For the upcoming "Indoor Line Bike Expo", the cost is $300 for 6' exhibitor table. There is no formal discount for non-profits, including those without a paid membership, i.e. Delaware Bikes.
  • Delaware Bikes offered to assist promoting the Indoor Line Bike Expo in exchange for hanging our banner. There was no response from the event Chair, leading one to believe that organizers have little interest in promoting bicycle advocacy, or that which doesn't involve a profit.
It is our hope that Delaware's mountain bike community will one day join forces with bicycling advocates, recognizing the benefits of riding safely from home, for commuting, errands, and other transportation needs. If we cannot work together, divided we will fall.

Amy Wilburn, Chair of the Delaware Bicycle Council, addresses the crowd at the 2014 "Heels and Wheels" Walk/Bike Summit in Newark.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

9 things drivers need to stop saying in the bikes vs cars debate


Cross-posted from Wired -- There are certain things guaranteed to set off an internet firestorm. Talk about climate change, mention Monsanto, or bring up the treatment of women in video games. And you can, especially in recent years, piss off a whole bunch of people simply by writing about bikes and cars. Nothing seems to bring out the angry caps lock and personal attacks faster than transportation issues.

A recent report showing more cyclists are dying on US streets prompted a remarkable number of stories about cyclist safety. And in the comments section of each, people rehashed the same tired arguments over and over.

So, before the next big wave of internet arguing, I propose we retire a few overused and underwhelming opinions in the bikes vs. cars debate. Though I drive and bike, my allegiances skew toward cyclists (feel free to scroll straight to the comments and yell at me). But beyond my personal judgments lie a great many studies and data showing most of the pro-motorist arguments just don’t hold up. I know it’s hard to be wrong, especially on the internet, but here are a few sentences I hope we see less of in the future. 

1) Cyclists always break the law

Let’s get this one out of the way first, because it’s the one you hear most often: “I can’t respect cyclists because they ignore stop signs” or “Cyclists don’t seem to understand the rules of the road.” And yeah, when I’m on my bike, I sometimes bend traffic laws and see other cyclists doing the same.

The question is, how often does this happen? And how angelic are drivers? The data is a little hard to come by: Nobody, as far as I can tell, has placed a camera on the shoulders of drivers and cyclists and measured how well they follow the rules of traffic. But there is some information. One British study found that six out of ten cyclists admit to running red lights. Last year, New York magazine sent an intern out to see how cyclists handled traffic lights at three intersections. She found only 14, 22, and 36.6 percent of riders stopped at red lights, respectively.

How about cars? Well, an internet questionnaire found two-thirds of drivers admit to breaking the law at some point. The Society of Automotive Engineers concluded that US drivers use their turn signals just half the time when changing lanes, and only a quarter of the time when turning improperly, which could be responsible for as many as two million accidents annually. And that 14-to-36 percent compliance rate for bikers? It’s a little offset by the fact that New York City drivers collectively run 1.23 million red lights per day.

2) Roads are designed for cars  [Continue reading ...]

Monday, November 17, 2014

Obsessive Cycling

What are the signs that you're way past the legal limit of healthy social behavior when it comes to cycling? These film clips provide some insight.


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Inaugural EZ Roller Ride Revisited


By Angela Connolly -- It was a cloudy and crisp Fall morning, but it didn't dampen the spirits of the riders who came together to enjoy the first EZ Rollers ride to Milburn Orchards, which is a popular destination for area cyclists. The group met at Saxby's in Newark, where Corinth gave her suggestions for the route to Milburn. After introductions and tea/coffee, the group set out on Elkton Road. Corinth showed the group a route through the Gore campus, which provided a less hilly option to our destination than the route that the other riders had taken before.

At Milburn's we had a nice break, and enjoyed hot cider, tea, and their famous cider donuts!

Heading home, the group decided to take the more straightforward route of Barksdale Road back to Newark.

The pace of the ride was very comfortable, allowing the riders to enjoy the scenery, and talk to each other. We talked about the possibilities for future rides. We are so lucky to have so many beautiful places to explore by bike!

We are hoping that December will be kind to us and allow good weather for another EZ Rollers Ride! Stay tuned for details! Everyone is welcome, we will have all skill levels of riders, and no one gets dropped, ever! Come have fun, meet other cyclists, and explore the many beautiful roads and destinations that the area has to offer - at an EZ and fun pace!

The group preparing for departure at Saxby's Coffee in Newark.

Ready for some hot cider and cider donuts!

Sandy says Come Ride with the EZ Rollers!

Parking the bikes at Milburn's

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Petition: "Bicycles On Roadway" Warning Signs

Please click above to have a voice!
Delaware Department of Transportation: Install signs that serve a dual purpose of warning motorists that bicycles will be in the roadway and educating motorists that bicyclists have the right to ride in the lane, or the right to use the full lane if necessary.

As it stands now, DelDOT is generously installing generic bicycle warning signs (yellow diamond with a bicycle symbol) on a widespread basis, and we applaud their willingness to do so. The "Share the Road" sub-sign below it has been discontinued.

According to Federal Highway Administration and the Manual for Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), the bicycle warning sign by itself is used to indicate "bicycles ahead", i.e. crossing or entering the roadway. While no one is suggesting that DelDOT refrain from using the sign to raise awareness of bicyclists on the roadway, something more is needed on non-shouldered roads with sub-standard width lanes, something that is both a warning sign and that carries an educational message to drivers that bicyclists are legally entitled to ride in the lane of traffic.

DelDOT’s first attempt to use the standard "Bicycles May Use Full Lane" (BMUFL) sign on a 2 lane non-shouldered road in Sussex County - Gills Neck – raised the ire of motorists and legislators, and the signs were removed. A second sign, at a bridge crossing the White Clay Creek on Papermill Road in Newark, is still in place. These are black on a white background, and are intended to inform motorists about the law, but are not as visible as the larger and brighter yellow warning signs.

Given the issues surrounding BMUFL signs used for any distance along Delaware's non-shouldered roads, a sign that is a customized version of the bicycle warning sign and that includes the words “On Roadway” would make an excellent compromise, and should be installed on roads where substandard width lanes and higher speeds present a safety hazard. This sign would not be intended to replace the bicycle warning sign in widespread use. It would be used going forward, only in areas where substandard width lanes, aggressive driving, and/or higher speeds present a safety hazard.

Major justification for this initiative comes from Maryland's State Highway Administration. SHA combined the bicycle warning sign with the Bicycles May Use Full Lane sign, and are using it on 2 lane non-shouldered roads. This appears as a standard yellow diamond with a bicycle symbol, and the words "Bicycles May Use Full Lane". This is a custom design and not found in any of the national manuals, yet the signs are used with much success in Cecil County and will soon be installed on Route 896 just north of Newark. The story behind that advocacy effort can be viewed HERE.


Does this sign increase safety? If you think so, please sign our petition!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Power of Bicycles

As an orphan living with her grandmother in Zambia, 12-year-old Tamara has a simple life, but not an easy one. See how her story changes with the power of a bicycle.


As the most efficient form of transportation on Earth, bicycles inspire true greatness. Donate

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Crossing I95 in the Newark Area: Route 72 (S. Chapel Street)


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The 4th of an eight part series, we are examining every I95 overpass/underpass in the greater Newark area from a bicycling safety perspective. Crossing I95 is a major impediment for City and area bicyclists, and a show stopper for many who might otherwise consider commuting or riding for basic transportation. Of the eight, we already know the following:
  • 2, including this one, are equipped with a truly safe, segregated pathway intended for non-motorized use - but are not necessarily safe to reach on a bike.
  • 2 contain access ramps to and from I95 in both directions, rendering them very unsafe.
  • 6 are direct crossings with no I95 access, but contain little or no bikeable shoulder space.
  • By request of Delaware Bikes Advocates, 4 are under consideration for Bicycle Warning Signs.
The Route 72/South Chapel Street I95 underpass is the next one east from Route 896. This crossing offers a parallel sidepath, but only on the southbound side. Like most facilities of this type, it has been abandoned by DelDOT and adjacent property owners where any kind of maintenance is concerned. Despite its hazardous condition, it's among the safest across I95 for bicyclists and pedestrians.

NOTE: Using the traffic lanes is not recommended due to high volume, high speed traffic with no shoulder space. However, more advanced cyclists can be seen taking the right lane instead of the sidepath - raising the ire of motorists.

Riding the sidepath under I95, heading north toward Newark

 Tips for crossing I95 on Route 72:
  • A popular access point is from Scottfield Turn, 2 traffic lights north of I95. Cross at the traffic light and proceed south on the sidepath.
  • Many bicyclists cut through Dow Chemical at Bellevue Road, and come out immediately north of I95. Be advised that Dow used to have signs posted in both directions prohibiting bicycles and motorcycles.
  • There are no pathway access points from I95 south to Old Baltimore Pike.
  • Use sturdy tires. The sidepath is abandoned and littered with debris. It also suffers drainage issues under I95, and can be submerged under a few inches of mud and water.
  • As with any bi-directional sidepath, use extreme caution and be especially vigilant at intersections if riding "upstream".
Below are several years worth of photos on the approach to, and passing under I95 via Route 72.  





Last photo: After several requests via DelDOT's on-line maintenance form, the pathway was cleared of overgrowth in 2011.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Vintage Spotlight: 1974 Raleigh Sports 3-Speed, NOS

1974 Raleigh Sports, NOS
From Sheldonbrown.com -- The Raleigh Sports and its deluxe sibling the Superbe were the flagships of Raleigh's line of utility bikes.

For many years, in many parts of the world, the Raleigh "Sports" three-speed bicycle was considered the ultimate in human-powered transportation. These bicycles were not toys, and, despite the model name, they were not sporting equipment...they were serious vehicles. The men and women who built them, by and large, also rode them, as their primary means of transportation.

Most modern bicycles are designed with the primary intent to catch your eye on the sales floor, and persuade you to buy. That is not what a Raleigh Sports was about...these were designed to provide solid, dependable transportation for the British public, at a time when only the upper classes had motorcars. These bikes were built to last 100 years, with reasonable care. [Keep reading ...]





Poster's note: My 1974 Raleigh Sports (above photos) was purchased a few years ago on eBay. Also check out this beautiful 1970 Sports, courtesy of About Sports. A complete history of the Raleigh Bicycle Company can be found on Wikipedia.