Help Approve the SLO Bike Plan on Nov 5!

Join the Bicycle Coalition to pack the San Luis Obispo City Council chambers and get the latest SLO City Bike Plan approved! The plan is a blueprint for future bikeways including 26 miles of new paths, 17 miles of bike lanes, and 6 miles of bike boulevards all aimed at getting more people riding bicycles. Bicycle Coalition advocates will stand together to show the City Council how important bikeways are to our community.

2013_SLOBikePlanUpdate

We will be gathering from 5:00 – 5:45 pm for some snacks and socializing in our downtown SLO headquarters (860 Pacific St, Suite 105, SLO – map) before riding to the meeting together!

What: San Luis Obispo City Council Meeting
When: Tuesday November 5, 2013, 6:00 – 7:00 pm
Where: City Council Chambers, 990 Palm Street, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401 (map)
Why: Ask City Council to approve the Bike Plan Update

Advertisements

Advocacy Mini-Summit Sunday

The advocacy efforts of the SLO County Bicycle Coalition have gotten more sophisticated over the past year, with a special team of behind the scenes advocates representing all corners of San Luis Obispo County. Join our expanded advocacy team by attending our 2nd annual Advocacy Mini-Summit on Sunday, October 20th, 2013, from 1:00 to 4:00pm.

Ongoing conversations with passionate advocates, families and local leaders have led to numerous victories in 2013 and help set the stage for a great Advocacy Mini-Summit!

2013AdvocacySummit

Our annual Mini-Summit is designed to help you become a better bicycle advocate and learn how to help make bicycle friendly improvements in your community. The program for the afternoon includes:

  • Q&A with an expert panel of local leaders
  • A copy of our custom advocacy toolkit
  • Interactive brainstorming session for future projects
  • Light refreshments
  • …and more!

With more people on the ground advocating to complete planned bicycle projects, the easier it is for all of us to create a bicycle-friendly SLO County! Sign up below, it’s free, and invaluable in helping us complete our bike paths.

Our expert panelists include:

  • Bruce Gibson, Board of Supervisors
  • Jessica Berry, Planner, SLOCOG
  • Jamie Irons, Mayor, Morro Bay
  • Derek Johnson, Community Development Director, San Luis Obispo

If you are having trouble with the form below, you can use this link to sign up online.

Update: Highway One Chip Seal Treatment

Last year, Caltrans used a larger than normal aggregate to resurface a portion of the world renowned Highway One route north of Cambria. As part of this resurfacing, the roadway became incredibly rough for bicycles and kicked up small rocks into the path of both bicycle riders and motorists. This safety issue has made its way from local to state to national news through popular bicycle groups.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Soon, thanks to the efforts of numerous advocacy groups, this 20 mile section of roadway will be remedied to provide sufficient smoothing! After a series of test treatments as part of a study by the UC Davis Pavement Research Center, a sand seal will be applied to a portion of the roadway before moving forward with the remaining roadway. The test sand seal is set to be applied in 3-4 weeks.

From an official Caltrans statement:

“I am happy to announce through our association with the UC Davis Pavement Research Center and input from the cycling community, Caltrans is preparing to begin work on Hwy. 1. With this fact based decision we are now moving forward with finding a solution for resurfacing Highway 1.  While the full report continues to undergo review, enough information is available to begin work on Highway 1,” said Caltrans District 5 Director Tim Gubbins.

The results of this study indicate a sand seal treatment is expected to be effective in smoothing the surface of Highway 1.  Caltrans will apply a sand treatment to a short test section of Highway 1.  A sand seal is a sprayed application of asphalt emulsion followed by a covering of clean sand or fine aggregate.

This is great news for coastal riders, upcoming fundraising rides which use this beautiful  route, and motorists who don’t want rocks flung at their windshields.

The selection of this surface treatment follows work by the UC Davis Pavement Research Center and Caltrans that tested eight sections of surface treatment on State Route 198 in Monterey County. 

A sand seal was applied to one of the test sections and resulted in an improvement on the highway, according to feedback from cyclists and specialized equipment used to measure the texture of the highway.

Your Bicycle Coalition will be sure to keep you up to date as the process moves forward. In the meantime more news on the subject is available online for your review:

California By Bike Summit

We are at an exciting and powerful moment in the history of bicycle advocacy in our state. Governor Brown has provided more money than ever for active transportation infrastructure and he’s given us a blank slate regarding rules on how to spend it. Are we prepared to make the most of this opportunity?

CAbikeSummit2013

Our statewide partners, the California Bicycle Coalition, are hosting an incredible summit in November to address the future of bicycles in the state. Aimed at brining bicycle culture, infrastructure and excitement to all corners of the golden state, the California by Bike Summit is guaranteed to inspire!

130601-1063

On November 7-10 in Oakland, CA, California by Bike will bring people together so that we can say, “Yes, we can.”  This is a gathering of more than just bike advocates and the bike industry, but leading bike-minded people in transit, urban planning, health, design, technology, and tourism as we share, envision, connect and collaborate on how to best improve biking in California.

Your Bicycle Coalition will be in attendance to learn and share from others, with the central coast having many recent victories for bicycles. We are also excited to hear what other similar parts of the state are doing to make bicycle riding better in their communities. We’d love to see you there as we all continue to work together to making places better for bicycles!

When: November 7-10, 2013
Where:  685 14th St, Oakland, CA (map)

For more information, to register and receive early-bird registration (ends September 30!) visit the California by Bike Summit online here.

SLO City Planning Commission to Address Key Bicycle Projects this Week

The San Luis Obispo City Planning Commission is set to consider two important bicycle issues at their Wednesday night meeting, and the Bicycle Coalition would love to see your support! There is no speaking required, but you can if you would like. The two issues to be reviewed at the meeting include:
  • The preferred trail alignment of the Bob Jones Trail from Los Osos Valley Road to the Octagon Barn
  • The Draft 2013 Bicycle Transportation Plan

When: Wednesday September 11, 2013 at 6:00 pm
Where: City Council Chambers, 990 Palm St, SLO (map)

SLOCityCouncil_4.10.12

Your Bicycle Coalition has been hard at work with our team of advocates as we continue the positive progress of the Bob Jones Trail for users countywide. In addition to the future of this popular trail, the commission will also be considering the Draft 2013 Bicycle Transportation Plan – the blueprint of future bicycle facilities in the City of SLO. Both issues are key as we work together to make SLO County an incredible place for bicycles!

View the September 11, 2013 Planning Commission agenda.

Bob Jones Trail

There is no need to speak in support of the proposed alignment, just being there to show the bicycle community’s overwhelming support for the alignment along the scenic creek is very helpful.

If you would like to speak:
-Urge commissioners to support the preferred alignment along the creek and creek setback (read more about the preferred alignment).

Draft 2013 Bicycle Transportation Plan

The Bicycle Transportation Plan creates a guiding blueprint for increasing bicycle ridership and future infrastructure improvements to improve connectivity and safety for all road users. Your Bicycle Coalition will be asking commissioners to recommend approval of the draft plan to the SLO City Council.

If you would like to speak: (We encourage you to do so!)
-Urge commissioners to recommend approval of the plan to the SLO City Council.
-You can also view the plan online (planned projects start at page 52, Appendix A, all are sorted by area of SLO City) and take note of the specific projects that are important to you and your family.

If you cannot attend:
-Take a look at the plan online, and send a quick email the Deputy Director of Long Range Planning, Kim Murry (kmurry@slocity.org) the specific projects that are important to you.

 

Advocacy Alert: 3ft Passing Bill on Governor Brown’s Desk

Our statewide partners at the California Bicycle Coalition are one step closer to victory in their latest Give Me 3 campaign.

Give Me 3 is a Bill to get drivers to give a safe three feet of clearance when passing a bicycle rider. Assembly Bill 1371 amends the Vehicle Code to specify three feet as the safe passing distance. Twenty-one other states have enacted similar legislation.

3-feet-poster

The bill has been passed by the California State Assembly and as of August 27th, 2013 it passed the Senate on a 31-7 vote! Now it sits on the Governor’s desk awaiting final approval.

The legislation would “require a driver to pass a bicycle at a distance of at least three feet”, but when drivers cannot leave that much room due to road conditions they must slow to “a reasonable and prudent speed” and pass only if doing so would not endanger the cyclist’s safety. A violation would be punishable by fines starting at $35. It also sets a base fine of $220 (that’s $959 once court fees and other expenses are added) for injuring a bicycle rider in violation of this statute.

This current version of the bill is an attempt to address the concerns raised by the governor in vetoing previous 3-foot passing bills over the past two legislative sessions. This has given him the distinction of becoming only the second governor to do so – joining Texas’ Rick Perry.

Over 40% of fatal bicycle collisions are caused by motorists passing unsafely. And yet, Governor Brown has vetoed CalBike’s previous two “3 foot” bills. With your help today, the third time could be the charm.

AB 1371, if signed into law by the governor, could become an effective educational tool in making roads safer for all users. Please send a note urging Governor Jerry Brown to pass this important piece of legislation, and require California drivers to give a safe distance when they pass you on your bicycle.

Donate to Connect SLO County, Get a Bell!

Connect SLO County Bells

Receive one of these limited edition bells with your donation to Connect SLO County!

These fun, new, shiny bells could be yours with a donation to our Connect SLO County initiative!

Connect SLO County is an initiative of the San Luis Obispo County Bicycle Coalition. Your contribution today funds the work that is making the completion of our bike paths a reality. Through your special contribution to Connect SLO County, we will be able to complete the paths that will help more people of all ages, from eight years old to 80 years old, move around SLO County by bike.

Sign the People for Bikes Pledge

PeopleForBikesWhether you’re a bike commuter, a roadie, a mountain biker or just a casual rider, by uniting your voice with a million others, we can build a national movement to improve bicycling in our country. We can make a statement through our sheer numbers by raising public awareness and demonstrating our passion to our leaders in Congress and in cities and states throughout the country.

People for Bikes is hosting a national competition to see what state can recruit the most new supporters, help us propel California to victory! Their goal is to get one million people across the country to sign the pledge to support biking. Sign the pledge.

The goal of People for Bikes is to speak with one powerful voice of one million supporters—to let policy makers, the media and the public know that bicycling is important and should be promoted. As more of us join together, we can win more funding, better bikeways, and communities completely connected with safe bike routes comfortable for everyone.

Rand Paul Attacks Federal Funding

Just yesterday, July 24, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) introduced an amendment to the Transportation Appropriations Committee that will strip all Federal funding for biking and walking facilities. Please help us maintain the Transportation Alternatives (TA)* program – that will help build a bikeable and walkable SLO County.PaulAttacksFederalFundingPaul’s amendment would prohibit ANY MONEY from being used for TA*, and to redirect it all towards bridge repair. Contact our Senators and ask them to save Transportation Alternatives by voting NO on amendment 1742. It’s quick, painless, and will help ensure the Bob Jones Trail is completed in your lifetime.

Caron Whitaker, the League’s Vice President for Government Relations, told POLITICO that the amendment is off the mark. TA represents just 2 percent of transportation funding, and that percentage would hardly put a dent in bridge repair.

“Stripping the Mayors of this funding and putting the entire TA program funding to bridge repair couldn’t fix our country’s bridges in 40 or more years […] However, putting this 2 percent put towards transportation needs in our cities, towns and counties can make transportation in those communities more safe, efficient and accessible.”

-Caron Whitaker, VP for Government Relations
League of American Bicyclists

Obviously repairing our bridges is important, both for safety and economic development reasons, but dedicating the small amount of TA funding to bridge repair would not be highly effective. Taking this small amount of funding away would dangerously undermine efforts in communities to provide safe and efficient transportation options for everyone. With rates of bicycling and walking fatalities on the rise, this is a trade we can’t afford to make.

The Senate hopes to finish this bill today, so please act soon!

Read more from our national partners at the League of American Bicyclists here.

*In 2012, Congress passed a new transportation bill, MAP-21, that dismantled dedicated funding for biking and walking by combining Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to School and Recreational Trails into one program, Transportation Alternatives (TA), and cut the funding by 30%. The only saving grace was a local control provision to ensure that Mayors and communities could access dollars to support their local transportation priorities.

Paso Robles Named Bicycle Friendly Community

Paso_BFCWe’re thrilled to be a part of the process of naming Paso Robles an official Bronze Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists!

With this, the League’s most recent round of designations, there are now 259 BFCs in 47 states across the country. The Bronze Level  award recognizes Paso Robles’s commitment to improving bicycling with investments in the promotion of bicycles, education programs, infrastructure and policies.

This is just one more example of your Bicycle Coalition being hard at work making all of SLO County better for bicycles. Horray for another step forward for a bicycle friendly SLO County!

To help the Bicycle Coalition continue to do amazing things countywide, become a member. The more members we have, the stronger our ability is to advocate and achieve victories like this, we couldn’t do it without you!

You can read more about Paso Roble’s Bronze Level BFC designation in the Paso Robles Daily News here.

Next-Gen Bike Lanes

The following was originally published in our Spring 2013 Spoken Wheel newsletter.

BIKE LANES 2.0
The next generation of bike facilities will blow your mind

BikeLanes2.0key

In all corners of America, we are seeing innovative solutions for bicycles on our roadways. The goal of many of these facilites is to create a safer more inviting space to get more people comfortable riding bicycles.

To share this incredible progress, we put together this quick guide for you. We hope it will inspire you to think big as we shape the future of bicycles in SLO County together!

GETTIN’ IT DONE IN SLO COUNTY

The road towards innovative spaces for bicycles in SLO County is long, but the Bicycle Coalition is in it for the longhaul. We are determined to make our communities beacons for bicycles in the golden state of California. Unfortunately, the drive and energy to pursue these successful strategies won’t come from our local leaders and government staff – it comes from you!

With your help, we can make these visions a reality. Join the Bicycle Coalition today to strengthen our voice for bicycles countywide. The more members we have, the faster we can move towards completing our bike paths and putting these innovative solutions to work in your neighborhood.

BikeBox

A bike box is a designated area at the head of a traffic lane at a signalized intersection that provides bicyclists with a safe and visible way to get ahead of queuing traffic during the red signal phase.

SEEN IN: Boston MA, Austin TX, Madison WI
COST: $
PROS: Greatly increases visibility of bicyclists.
Helps prevent ‘right-hook’ conflicts with turning vehicles at intersections.
Facilitates bicyclist left turn positioning during red signal.
Pedestrians benefit from reduced vehicle encroachment into the crosswalk.

BikeCorrals

On street bicycle parking spaces allow bicyclists to ride straight up to park their bicycles. One vehicle parking spot can accomodate over 10 bicycles. These corrals can be easily branded to promote neighboring businesses or areas.

SEEN IN: Long Beach CA, Missoula MT, Seattle WA
COST: $$
PROS: Decreases sidewalk conflicts between bicycles and pedestrians by preventing bicycle riding on the sidewalk and improper bicycle parking. Increases storefront visibility for businesses. One vehicle parking spot can accomodate over 10 bicycle customers.

Continue reading

BIG Win for Bicycles in San Luis Obispo

Earlier in 2013, the San Luis Obispo City Council made expanding our bikeway network a major city goal. Later, on Monday, June 17th, the Council approved a two year budget that makes incredible strides towards strengthening our investment in safe biking and walking infrastructure.

The next budget cycle will include unbelievable investment in our bikeways. The Bicycle Coalition is excited to announce the increase in general funds towards bikeway improvements from $25,000 to $100,000 a year. That’s 4x the previous annual investment!

4xfunding

This full list of projects below illustrates the dedication and partnership between the City Council, Staff, and your Bicycle Coalition over the next two years:

  • Bicycle Traffic Counts
  • Bicycle Education
  • SLO City Bike Rodeo
  • Bike Parking
  • $1,759,000 for the Railroad Safety Trail
  • $600,000 for the Bob Jones Trail
  • $120,000 for path maintenance
  • $200,000 for bicycle facilities improvements
  • $50,000 for sidewalk repairs
  • $220,000 for sidewalk ramp construction
  • …and more!

We know that we are joined by tens of thousands of people in our community in saying THANK YOU to our council for believing in the positive impact of complete bikeways in our lovable city.

You too can take a moment to send City Council members a thank you note for quadrupling funding for bikeways. Find their contact information here.

Receive a Bell With Your Donation to Connect SLO County

Connect SLO County is an initiative of the Bicycle Coalition, aimed at completing the major path projects in SLO County. Donate today and receive a limited edition bell!

Throughout California people have formed lifelong memories on paths in Sacramento, Los Angeles, Monterey, Lake Tahoe, Ventura, and countless more. In San Jose, a ride from downtown on the Guadalupe River Trail is a total breeze as you cross underneath numerous freeways, taking you all the way to the bay or the new 49ers stadium. Even in Bakersfield you can enjoy a family ride on the Kern River Parkway, a 30 mile separated path which connects multiple county parks with the university campus and the downtown.We are all on the path

In SLO County, local governments approved plans for paths decades ago, but very few miles have actually been built. Connect SLO County shares your experiences with local leaders, intensifying efforts to complete more incredible paths on the Central Coast. More people deserve to feel safe creating memories on paths in their own backyards.

Everyone can reconnect with the joy of riding a bike when traffic is out of sight and the sound of children’s infectious laughter fills your ears. No matter what your ability, age, choice of sport, or type of bicycle, paths will provide you a safe space to experience the happiness of SLO County.

ConnectSLOCounty_badgeLG

Preventing Collisions by Addressing Distracted Driving

With summer fast approaching and more bicycle riders than ever on our roadways, we have been hearing of multiple avoidable collisions between bicycle riders and motorists. In response to a personal experience one of our members wrote an incredible letter to the editor in this week’s Tribune.

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank Lea for letting us publish it here and wish a speedy recovery for anyone who has been in an crash recently. If you or someone you know has been in a crash, the Bicycle Coalition has resources available for you to assist in asserting your rights on a bicycle. Contact us at crash@slobikelane.org.

The following originally appeared in the May 22, 2013 issue of the SLO Tribune.

Plea from an injured cyclist’s wife: Drivers, pay attention
By Lea Brooks

Anxiously waiting outside the emergency room at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center in San Luis Obispo, I tried not to speculate about my husband’s injuries. All I knew is that he had been hit by a car while bicycling on Highway 1 in Morro Bay and that the trauma team was still evaluating the damage.

California Highway Patrol Officer C.L. Hawkins, who was investigating the crash, emerged from the trauma center’s closed doors carrying a black plastic garbage bag containing the tattered clothes and other belongings of my husband, Myron “Skip” Amerine. She also handed me his cracked, blood-stained helmet.

The driver, she said, was a 23-year-old woman from Cayucos who was running late to her job in Morro Bay. The driver didn’t see Skip until she collided with him from behind at approximately 65 mph. Officer Hawkins said the driver told her she “must not have been paying good enough attention” — a statement included in the official CHP traffic collision report.

The crash occurred on the tricky southbound stretch of Highway 1 between the Highway 41 onramp and Main Street onramp. Bike riders are supposed to follow the dashed white line to the right of the through slow lane and avoid weaving across the on- and off-ramps.

An image captured by Myron ‘Skip’ Amerine’s helmet camera as he was struck by a car.

An image captured by Myron ‘Skip’ Amerine’s helmet camera as he was struck by a car.

A digital video camera image of Skip and his bicycle flying horizontally over the dashed white line where he was supposed to be riding provided solid evidence the driver was at fault. The camera had been mounted on his helmet, but popped off on impact and kept recording until it was turned off by the investigating officers.

The video image is a chilling reminder of the risks people who ride bikes, pedestrians and other motorists face from distracted drivers. An appalling number of drivers are texting, talking on the phone, impaired by alcohol or drugs, or generally not paying attention while behind the wheel of a moving vehicle.

The driver was cited for violation of California Vehicle Code 21658(a), which states a vehicle shall be driven as nearly as practical entirely within a single lane and shall not be moved from the lane until such movement can be made with reasonable safety.

Skip’s injuries included a concussion, compound fracture of a lower vertebra and nasty bruises and abrasions from head to foot. I’m relieved he wasn’t killed or more seriously hurt, but am angry he was the victim of a crash that was 100 percent preventable. Distracted drivers need to realize the consequences of their actions.

In Skip’s situation, he faces weeks of painful healing and reliance on me and others for assistance with daily living. His activities will be hampered by a back brace for two months. Resumption of daily bicycle rides is a distant goal. Our plans for the rest of the year, including a bicycle tour, have been cast aside to focus on Skip’s recovery.

What a paradox that the crash occurred on May 1, the first day of Bike Month. This local and national celebration encourages people to bicycle to work, school, to run errands and for fun and exercise. As bicycle advocates for many years, Skip and I support Bike Month’s role in motivating people to try cycling, and were looking forward to participating in the myriad activities scheduled in San Luis Obispo.

So, how do you encourage people to bicycle when you are the victim of a distracted driver? Many people don’t ride because they are afraid of being hit by a motorist, especially from behind. While statistics show rear-end collisions are not common, they do happen.

My response is that there is risk in almost everything we do, including driving a car. The risk of bicycling is more than offset by its health benefits. Other benefits include reducing greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming, relieving traffic congestion, no gasoline or parking expenses and saving time by combining exercise and transportation. Plus, bicycling is downright fun.

Bike Month provides a platform to remind bike riders about steps they can take to improve their safety, including wearing a helmet and brightly colored clothing, signaling turns and obeying traffic signals and other rules of the road. For more information about bicycle safety and gaining confidence to ride in traffic, enroll in a bicycle education workshop offered by the San Luis Obispo County Bicycle Coalition at slobikeed.org. Joining the Bicycle Coalition by going to slobikelane.org is a constructive way to support efforts to improve the quality of life on the Central Coast through bicycling advocacy, education and inspiration.

Bike Month activities are posted on the San Luis Obispo Council of Governments’ website at rideshare.org/bikemonth2013. It’s not too late to dust off that bike in the garage and participate.

My plea to motorists: Pay attention! Put down that smartphone and other devices, avoid distractions and be alert for people who ride bikes on the road, especially before opening your car door or in blind spots before entering or leaving a lane of traffic. Bicycles are a legitimate form of transportation and cyclists deserve your respect. And remember that distracted driving crashes are preventable.

Lea Brooks is a journalism graduate of Cal Poly. She recently returned to San Luis Obispo after living and working in Northern California for 30 years. She and her husband have been active in bicycle advocacy and advisory groups.