Posts Tagged ‘bicycle’

Bicycling Vegas Style

Bridget – from Las Vegas

I used to spend the majority of my free time in the gym. I would finish work at 5:00 and go straight there. I generally wouldn’t arrive home until after 8:00. Sadly, I didn’t even enjoy my time there. It was claustrophobic working out alongside some many other sweaty people. I wanted a break from this hamster wheel of existence, but I couldn’t figure out how to get my exercise in a different way. Although I had heard of those who run outdoors or ride bikes through the city, these activities seemed dangerous to me. Fortunately, a move to Las Vegas changed my habits.City bike woman

Until I moved, I didn’t realize how much an individual’s place of residence can affect exercise habits. I never thought moving to Vegas would turn me into a proponent of outdoor fitness, but it did.

Upon first moving to Las Vegas, I figured I would have difficulty even getting a minimal amount of outdoor exercise. My notion of exercising outside in Sin City entailed drunks stumbling along the downtown strip. Fortunately, the city proved me wrong.

If a picture of the Las Vegas strip is firmly planted in your brain, it might be difficult to recall that the city lies at the center of the Mojave Desert. This natural wonder features miles of scenic bike trails, and I love exploring them. Of course, getting lost out there would be a travesty, so I use this amazing website to locate and navigate safe trails and help me get back home in one piece.

Did you know that Las Vegas has been named one of America’s Cycle-Friendly Cities? This acknowledgement from the League of American Bicyclists has come after the city spent half a million dollars on bike racks and lockers for the downtown area. Additionally, the city now boasts 390 miles of bike lanes.

Visitors can benefit from the fitness culture in Las Vegas as well. A search on this amazing resource will help you find activities and accommodations at hotels that cater to your individual fitness needs. Today, the city contains many hotels that feature great gyms for guests and provide a broad menu of fitness amenities. While staying here, you’ll also find that guest services at most hotels will be happy to point you toward nearby outdoor fitness venues.

Any fitness buff knows that exercise is only a part of the overall fitness picture. In Las Vegas, many healthy food and drink options have also become available. Juice bars can be found in any corner of the city. Those looking for vegetarian options and other healthy food choices will find a variety of restaurants available in most neighborhoods here, including downtown. It might seem hard to believe that Sin City has a healthy streak. Why not plan a trip here so you can see it for yourself?

Terry – from Reno

Wow, you’ve got to admire the enthusiasm of the recent convert! Bridget sounds like she just joined the Chamber of Commerce and drank the cool aide. That makes me smile. So much energy!

For me the best thing about Las Vegas is the people who are making Las Vegas a great place to ride. In particular, I’m thinking of Lisa Caterbone, Ron Floth and James Little.

Lisa Caterbone runs http://bikinglasvegas.com/. The site is a one stop shop at the intersection of Las Vegas and Bicycling. There’s a ride calendar, maps and cue sheets and a picture gallery with some great videos. Lisa has really done something special for Vegas cycling. Check it out.

Las Vegas bicycle jerseyRon Floth is the Bicycle and Community Outreach Coordinator for the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (whew, that’s some title). Ron is the liaison between the RTC and Las Vegas Bicyclists. He’s the “go-to-guy” if you’re a roadie and have a bone to pick with the RTC in southern Nevada. The RTC is a key player in keeping Las Vegas a Bicycle Friendly Community.

James Little is head of the Las Vegas Valley Bicycle Club. Find them at http://lasvegasbikeclub.org/. There’s a potluck dinner on January 9th and plenty of rides on their website.

Bicycling is great in Las Vegas because people make it great!

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Cycling is a popular activity in Nevada, with people cycling to work, to school, for exercise, or just for pleasure. However, it is an undeniable fact that, along with pedestrians, cyclists are one of the most vulnerable groups of road users. In 2011, figures show that 677 cyclists were killed on America’s roads in accidents between bikes and motor vehicles, and a further 38,000 were injured. These alarming figures show how important it is that measures are taken to make cycling a safer activity for all concerned.

Roads no longer fit for purpose

One option for improving road safety that is receiving increasing support is the concept of Complete Streets. According to the Complete Streets Coalition, the initiative involves the development of road networks that are “safer, more livable, and welcoming to everyone.”

An article written for the Federal Highways Administration acknowledges that the current road network doesn’t meet this standard. It highlights the fact that roads were originally designed to ensure that motorized traffic could move through the road network as quickly and efficiently as possible. However, although this is good news for motorists, it doesn’t take into account the needs of other road users such as cyclists and pedestrians – a fact that is clearly demonstrated in the number of road casualty statistics.

Considering the needs of cyclists in road design

Local authorities and health bodies are keen to promote cycling for its health and environmental credentials; however there has not yet been a corresponding increase in investment and initiatives to facilitate this cycling and to keep cyclists safe.

Towns and cities that implement a Complete Streets policy would ensure that the road networks developed by transportation planners would always be built with all possible road users in mind and not just cars. This would mean that the needs of bicyclists, pedestrians and public transportation vehicles were considered and accounted for.

Unfortunately, even the safest of roads, designed with every road safety and accident prevention measure available, will still see the occasional accident because planners can’t account for random events, or the possibility of human error. As a result, it is important that cyclists always ensure they have the appropriate level of insurance cover for their bikes. UK bicycle insurance comparison website money.co.uk advises consumers to think carefully about what they need their insurance policy to cover. Bikes can be expensive and represent a significant investment on the part of their owners, so most cyclists will want protection against the risk of theft and accidental damage. However, considering the inherent risks involved in cycling on busy roads, it may also be worth including coverage for some level of personal accident insurance, as well as third-party liability to ensure they are covered for any damage they may inadvertently cause to another road user.

Common road hazards

Evidence shows that vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians are put at risk when they use roads that don’t take into account the needs of these groups. Common hazards include a lack of safe places to cross a busy road, wait for a bus or cycle.

According to the Complete Streets Coalition, there were more than 5,000 pedestrians and cyclists killed on roads in the US in 2008, and a further 120,000 injured. Figures have shown that road accidents involving pedestrians are twice as common in areas without sidewalks. Unsurprisingly, these accidents are least common on roads that have sidewalks on both sides.

Effective road safety measures

The Complete Streets philosophy doesn’t mandate the same design of road layout for all areas, but instead recognizes that the needs of road users will differ depending on where the road is. For example, a road in a rural area will have different levels of use than a road in a heavily built-up urban area. However, all roads designed to meet the Complete Streets standards will have one thing in common – finding the right balance of safety and convenience to meet the needs of all road users.

The types of measures that might be included in a road layout designed with Complete Streets in mind could include:

  • Widening roads to provide dedicated space for different users, such as cyclists, public transport and car drivers.
  • Providing regular and safe crossing points for pedestrians.
  • Better placement of bus stops.

According to the Complete Streets Coalition, a number of studies into bicyclist safety found that the inclusion of well-designed infrastructure specific to the needs of cyclists led to a reduction in the risk of cyclists crashing or sustaining an injury. For example, the inclusion of dedicated bicycle lanes was found to reduce accident rates by around 50%.

Adopting a Complete Streets philosophy needn’t be expensive or complicated, but can have a major impact on road safety, as demonstrated by the figures relating to the introduction of cycle lanes. Any investment into achieving Complete Streets that town and road planners are prepared to make will see major returns in the form of a reduction in the number of deaths and injuries on the roads. – Jennifer Knight

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Happy Holidays!
Your friends at the Nevada Bicycle Coalition

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The conventional wisdom assumes that massive transportation projects are far more economically strategic than bike lanes. But the release of two studies from two very different cities – Portland, OR and New York City – reveals that bicyclists and pedestrians may spend more than their peers who arrive at the same neighborhoods via automobile or public transportation.

Whether businesses reached out and made their locations more bicycle friendly, or streets were redesigned to include bike lanes, the overall outcome has been increased spending in local neighborhoods. Shoppers who arrive in urban neighborhoods via cars may spend more in one sitting–but overall those who arrived on foot or by bicycling spent more month to month. The results indicate that neighborhoods and business districts that seek a healthier bottom line should work with municipalities and support such features as protected bike lanes, bicycle racks and pedestrian safety improvements.

A study that New York-based Transportation Alternatives completed demonstrates the positive impact of bicycling in Manhattan’s East Village. Newly created bike lanes on First and Second Avenues led to a sharp increase in bicycle ridership in the study’s focus area. Such improvements are particularly important to women because they are less likely to commute by bicycle if a route lacks dedicated bicycle lanes. The result is a 24 percent rate of residents bicycling in their neighborhood; the average in all of New York City is only one percent. But those who traipse about the East Village by bike spend the most week-to-week at an average of $163 a week. Car users, on the other hand, fall behind with average expenditures of $111 a week.

Kelly Clifton, a civil and environmental engineering professor at Portland State University, found similar conclusions in her study of bicycling trends in the Rose City. Portland is one of the most bicycle friendly cities in the U.S., but business owners often have the perception that auto access equals dollars–and anything that possibly impedes auto access, capacity or parking will hit their revenues. Clifton, through surveying residents at various neighborhoods throughout the city, found the opposite. While customers who drive to various establishments may spend more money per visit, bicyclists visit the same venue more often, and spend more overall.

The findings of both surveys, particularly the one in Portland, show that bicycling is a win-win all around. Such benefits as exercise (in a country with a morbid obesity rate) and reduced emissions are obvious. But as is the case with many business initiatives with a focus on sustainability, targeting, welcoming and marketing to bicyclists makes solid business sense. The lessons of neighborhoods in cities from Fresno to Missoula, and neighborhoods in cities with established bicycle networks in Chicago, is that welcoming all visitors, instead of excluding some, strengthens communities–and bank accounts. The business case for bicycling has become an even easier one to make.

From GreenGoPost.com

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Reno Bike Project is calling it the “3 Sweet Feet Ride”. I’ve been calling it the “Bicycle Awareness Ride”. Whatever you call Saturday’s mass of bicyclists, it’s going to be fun and could be a really important event for the future of Reno & Sparks bicycling.

We have plenty to celebrate:
• Reno/Sparks was just named a bronze level “Bicycle Friendly Community”
• Nevada law now requires motorists to give bicycles 3 feet of space when passing from behind
• A motorist who causes injury to a bicyclist or pedestrian faces the increased penalties of a reckless driving offense, including possible loss of license, community service and jail
• Nevada law now prohibits hand-held cell phones and texting by motorists, reducing driver distractions

Not only will we be celebrating these accomplishments, we’ll be sending a message to motorists that they must share the roads with bicyclists and that the rules of the road have changed.

Come ride with us on Saturday, October 1st!

Start / End – Reno City Hall Plaza, 1st Street and South Virginia Street, Reno

Route – we’ll ride mostly on 4th Street and Prater Way to Sparks City Hall at a leisurely pace and return mostly on Victorian Avenue and the Truckee River Bike Path: 8 miles total.

When – Assemble in the Plaza from 9:30 to 10:30 and get a chance to thank the bicyclist friendly politicians who made these new laws possible. Teresa Benitez-Thompson, author of the law that increased penalties for injuring a bicyclist, plans to ride with us.

Park a few blocks away and bicycle to the Plaza or park in the Cal-Neva garage.

Wear your “3 Feet Please” jersey or t-shirt, if you’ve got one.

Win a jersey! The first 50 bicyclists to arrive at the plaza get a ticket to win a “3 Feet Please” jersey (that’s 50 chances to win one jersey, better odds than the casinos offer).

Rules of the Road – no streets will be closed and no special police escort is planned, although I expect them to be keeping an eye on us. I promised we would obey all of the rules of the road:
• Bicyclists have all of the rights and duties of motorists
• Ride no more than two abreast and single file if to do otherwise impedes traffic
• Obey all traffic signs and signals

Have Fun!

Hope to see you there!

Terry – 775-287-7142 for questions

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Well, I just finished notifying the local hospitals that we’re going to be riding our bicycles en masse from Reno City Hall Plaza to Sparks City Hall and back. They didn’t seem too worried or inclined to staff up their emergency response machinery. Notifying them was required by the Reno Events Committee as part of giving us a permit to do the event.

What event am I talking about?

A Bicycle Parade

It’s the Bicycle Awareness Parade – a ride to celebrate new bicycle-friendly laws!

All the bicyclists in Northern Nevada (wishful thinking here) will be riding from Reno City Hall Plaza to Sparks City Hall and back on October 1st, from 9:30 until noon. Besides just having the fun of a big bike ride, we’re riding to bring awareness to the new laws affecting bicyclists that go into effect on that day:
• Prohibiting hand-held cell phone use and texting,
• Requiring motorists to give a bicyclist 3 feet of space when passing from behind, and
• Increasing penalties for a motorist causing injury to a bicyclist or pedestrian to those of reckless driving.

Imagine several hundred bicyclists, some in “3 feet please” jerseys or t-shirts, riding to promote bicycle safety! Won’t that make a big story on the evening news, telling motorists that a change in driving behavior is required!

You say you don’t have a “3 feet please” jersey to wear in the Parade? That’s okay, of course. But if you want one, there’s still time to shop online. Get a jersey or t-shirt from http://www.3feetplease.com. If you put “GoNV” in the discount box, $5.00 of the purchase price will go to the Nevada Bicycle Coalition to support safe bicycling in Nevada.

So save the date – October 1st, 9:30 ‘til noon – for a great, celebratory bicycle ride with all of your friends and neighbors.

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Nevada’s legislature passed two bicycle-friendly laws in the last session that become effective on October 1, 2011. The problem is that very few motorists know about them:

AB328 – increases penalties for a motorist who causes a pedestrian or bicyclist injury

SB248 – requires motorists to allow at least 3 feet when passing a bicyclist from behind

These laws require motorist to change behavior so it’s important that they know about them (Duh!). However, no one has enough money to mount a big advertising campaign. So, how will motorists learn about their new responsibilities?


The best way to reach the motoring public, and the cheapest, is through local news coverage. Let’s do something that will be fun and attract lots of press attention. Here’s the plan:

Let’s have a parade! Imagine 200 or more bicyclists, all riding together at a relaxed, fun pace, smiling, laughing and celebrating a Nevada that is more bicycle friendly than ever. What could be a more positive image for an occasionally hostile motoring public?

On Saturday October 1st at 9:30am, let’s get every person in Reno and Sparks with a bicycle to meet at the Reno City Hall Plaza at S. Virginia and First Street. At 10:30 we’ll ride from there to the Sparks City Hall. As the bicyclists assemble, the news media can interview the bicyclists and the politicians that support bicycling and get some good pictures of people enjoying their bicycles. The actual bicycle ride from Reno to Sparks will be mostly on 4th Street and Prater Way. The return route will be mostly on the Truckee River Bike Path. It’s about an 8 mile round trip.

Ideally, there will be about 100 bicyclist wearing their “3 Feet Please” jerseys or t-shirts. Wouldn’t that make a great group picture?

Don’t have yours yet? Order one today at http://www.3feetplease.com. If you put “GoNV” in the discount code box, $5.00 of the purchase price will go to the Nevada Bicycle Coalition to support efforts to promote safe bicycling in Nevada.

To add to the fun, the Nevada Bicycle Coalition is going to give away a “3 Feet Please” jersey to one person of the first 50 bicyclists to arrive at the Plaza. So come early to pick up a prize ticket!
Thanks to the Reno Bike Project for co-sponsoring this event.

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One of my favorite sayings is, “Never attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity or ignorance.” This moral came to mind recently on a bicycle ride with some friends.

My wife and I were riding in the neighborhood with a new rider, one with a family where every member at least owned one bicycle. When my wife and I stopped at an intersection with a stop sign, this surprised new rider asked, “Why did you stop?” To us, the obvious answer was, “There’s a stop sign”.

I had always assumed that bicyclists coasted or “blew through” stop signs because they didn’t want to lose any momentum, they were feeling rebellious or otherwise just found it inconvenient to obey the law. It never occurred to me that they might just not know that the road signs for motorists also applied to bicyclists.

The Nevada revised statutes say, “Every person riding a bicycle upon a roadway has all of the rights and is subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle ….” Obviously, there are some provisions that are specific to just bicyclists and some that apply only to motorists. Generally though, the Rules of the Road apply to bicyclists as well as motorists.

That means stopping at stop signs, at least to the extent most motorists do in my neighborhood, by which I mean slow to a crawl and yield before proceeding. That means stopping at red traffic signals and waiting until they turn green.

Why is this important? Very, very few bicycle motor vehicle collisions happen because the bicyclist has ignored a traffic signal or stop sign. It’s not a safety issue. Why it’s important is that it is a matter of etiquette.

Society’s relationships and interactions are lubricated by etiquette and no more so than when operating a motor vehicle. Every motorist knows the Rules of the Road, a kind of etiquette, follows them and, as a result, everyone gets to where they are going without crashing into each other. When a bicyclist uses poor highway etiquette, he’s rude. When bicyclists ask for a little more space on the road, be it a bike lane or a 3 feet passing rule, motorists remember being treated rudely and are less likely to give up a piece of the road, to which they wrongly or rightly feel solely entitled.

So… the message here is, “Don’t be rude on the road.” Vehicle rules apply to bicycles, too.

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Light rail is coming to Reno! Well, almost light rail. This is light rail on rubber wheels and paved roads. Kind of “light-rail-lite”.

The Washoe Country RTC is introducing an express bus service between the downtown 4th Street station and Meadowood Mall, named “RTC Rapid”. It will ride in “bus only” lanes on South Virginia Street and stop at fewer stations than the regular bus, named RTC Rapid Connect. The South Virginia corridor has the most heavily used city buses in Washoe County.

The South Virginia corridor also is heavily used by bicycle commuters. So, where do the bicyclists go if a whole lane is designated for exclusive use of RTC buses?

I talked with Sgt. Stegmaier of Reno PD yesterday. We identified 4 choices:
1. Bikes and buses share the lane
2. Bikes ride next to the curb
3. Bikes ride in a bike lane left of the bus and right of the other traffic
4. Bikes are prohibited.

Bikes riding next to the curb would conflict with the bus at every bus stop, with the bicyclist in danger of getting squeezed. The plan is to construct nicely coordinated bus stops that allow easy bus entry and exit and a bike lane there, in the few places where there is enough room, would conflict with this plan.

Bikes that ride between the bus lane and the other traffic lane would be vulnerable from both sides. A real bike lane would be required for bicyclist safety and there’s not enough room for one in big parts of the corridor.

Prohibiting bikes would be an enforcement nightmare.

So, the RTC met yesterday (7/13/11) and decided to have the “bus only” lane be a “bus and bikes, only” lane. It will soon be signed like that, I’m told.

This makes sense to me for two reasons: 1) bicyclists in general go where they find most convenient and safe, regardless of law and signage, and 2) the “bus and bikes, only” lane will be empty when not occupied by a bus. Besides, trying to control bicyclists is like herding cats so it’s safer to adapt the environment to them.

Here’s a link for more information on RTC Rapid – http://www.rtcwashoe.com/RTCRAPID/documents/RTC.RAPID_brochure.pdf

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The 3 Foot Passing Bill, SB248, was passed by the Legislature, signed by the Governor and will become the law in Nevada on October 1, 2011. It’s pretty simple really. Motorists must pass a bicyclist no closer than 3 feet.

Here’s the language in the bill:

Legislative Counsel’s Digest:
Existing law prohibits the driver of a motor vehicle from overtaking and passing a bicycle or an electric bicycle unless the driver can do so safely without endangering the person riding the bicycle or electric bicycle. (NRS 484B.270) This bill requires a driver of a motor vehicle to overtake and pass a bicycle or an electric bicycle proceeding in the same direction by: (1) moving the vehicle into the immediate left lane, if there is more than one lane traveling in the same direction and it is safe to move into the lane; or (2) passing to the left of the bicycle or electric bicycle at a distance of not less than 3 feet from the bicycle or electric bicycle.

Critics say that it’s nearly impossible for traffic police to enforce this law. For me, feeling how close the FedEx trucks come when passing me, requiring a motorist to not pass “unless he can do so safely (current law)” must be not nearly specific enough. So it’s about education, not enforcement. So how will motorists get educated about this new law?

Get one at 3feetplease.com

You can help promote awareness of the new law by wearing a “3 Feet Please” t-shirt or bicycle jersey. They’re available at http://www.3feetplease.com, $15 for the t-shirt, $60 for the jersey, short or long sleeve. The jerseys run just a little bit small, so if you wear a loose fitting medium, this one will be fitted. If you put “GoNV” in the discount code box, $5.00 of your purchase will go to the Nevada Bicycle Coalition to help promote safe bicycling in Nevada and more bicycle friendly legislation in the future.

Here’s a link to the new law – http://www.leg.state.nv.us/Session/76th2011/Bills/SB/SB248_EN.pdf

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