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Posts Tagged ‘BPAC’

Nevada Bicycle Coalition

 

With so much emphasis on accountability these days, I thought I would give an accounting of the bicycle advocacy activities of the Nevada Bicycle Coalition, both for you and myself. The NBC was active in many projects and issues in 2008.

 

January – This Blog was born. See it at www.nevadabike.org. This was an effort to get some kind of Internet presence for NBC without spending a lot of cash or time, after getting so many requests for directions to our “website”.

 

February – Police versus Cyclist Bias meeting. What started as an Internet “rant” about the injustices upon bicyclists perpetrated by law enforcement ended with a meeting with about 50 cyclists and 20 Reno, Sparks, Washoe County senior police officials to discuss how to make roads safer for bicyclists and the challenges law enforcement faces. Everyone learned something and left with a better appreciation for the other’s point of view and a commitment to work together to improve bicycle safety. A more tangible result was a video produced by Washoe County Sheriff Haley’s Office discussing bicycle safety, traffic laws for bicyclists and the state of bicycling in northern Nevada. It aired on SNCAT, community access television for northern Nevada, in October.

You can view the video at http://washoe-nv.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=6&clip_id=78&publish_id=&event_id.

 

March – Bikes and Big Trucks. NDOT and the NBC started work on a course for drivers of semi-trucks to educate them and bicyclists how to safely share the road. The design team included representatives from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, DMV, Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the Associated General Contractors. The vision is that this course will be part of truck drivers OSHA training and distributed by the Nevada Motor Transport Association when completed.

 

April – we participated in the production of a DPS bicycle safety billboard designed and produced by IGT and Jeff Ross Photography, and paid for by the DPS. It was displayed during April on 32 signs in Las Vegas and 13 in Reno.

 

April – improved the language in the Washoe County 2040 Regional Transportation Plan, Bicycle and Pedestrian Element, with regard to bicycle facilities, safety and the promotion of motorist and bicyclist education.

 

April – the NBC was instrumental in the rebirth of the Washoe County Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC). The BPAC is charged in general with advising the Washoe County RTC on bike and pedestrian issues and, more specifically, with mapping the area’s bike lanes and routes and then recommending connections to turn the current hodge-podge into a bicycle transportation network. The mapping project can be accessed through www.nevadabike.org.

 

June – arranged to have the LAB DVD “Enjoy the Ride” shown in rotation on northern Nevada’s community access television station.

 

July – in a joint effort with the Reno Bike Project, the NBC ran a “bike valet” during 8 downtown “Rollin’ on the River” concerts, parking bicycles for free for concert goers. The bike racks were purchased with a grant for the City of Reno.

 

July – the NBC was granted 501(c)3 status by the IRS.

 

September – NBC had a table at the 2008 Reno Green Summit where we talked to people about bicycle commuting and safety and distributed a brochure modeled on the information at www.bicyclesafe.com.

 

September – the NBC and RBP ran a bike valet at the Balloon Races in Reno.

 

October – the NBC proposed and rallied support for a “road diet” for Mayberry Road, arguably the most popular bicycle route in Reno, which resulted in a dramatic improvement in safety for bicyclists despite opposition from some local residents.

 

December – the NBC submitted a proposal for legislation to update the Nevada Revised Statutes with regards to bicycle operation. At this time the status of this request is unknown.

 

So, we had a pretty productive year in pursuing our mission, “to promote safe bicycling in Nevada”.

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Reno RailsLately, I bicycle a different route to work each day. I’m surveying the streets to help revise the RTC bike map of existing bike lanes. My morning commute starts before 7:00. The air is cool and the motorists are calm.

 

This morning I found myself exploring Fourth Street which has the reputation of being THE place in Reno to obtain female companionship for a price. It really is much more interesting than just that, however. On the west end it’s almost rural. The shoulder is at least 6 feet wide so it feels safe. It’s smooth and downhill toward town, too, so the cruising is easy. Once into town the variety of business is astounding! They range from pizza places and wedding chapels to scrap metal dealers and fork lift rentals. I ride by Reno Rails and think of Bill’s “Come run trains with me!” Riding by the Dilligas Saloon, I think, “Is that the swinger’s place or something?” In a few minutes I’ve forgotten my mission to get to work and I’m captivated by the variety.

 

That, of course, is the beauty of bicycle commuting. In the car it’s just me and the radio, isolated in my tin box, grousing about traffic and gas prices. On my bike, I’m part of the community and engaged. I make eye contact with the day laborers waiting for a job on Galletti and wish them a “Good Morning”. How they can look so sour and expect to get some work is beyond me.

 

The highlight this morning was Grandma on her new Harley, however. I guessed it was a woman on a new purchase by her small frame and the tentative way she released the clutch. But I was pleasantly surprised when I pulled up next to her and peered into her helmet. Inside was the smiling, weathered, face of a senior citizen. I imagined she was feeling pretty smug on her new toy having found a fun, gas efficient way to get around town. Not as smug as I was feeling, however, ‘cause I was burning no gas at all on my commute.

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