Friday, October 30, 2009
 

Bicycling Advocate's Engineering Workshop

Fionnuala Quinn of FABB will conduct a workshop, sponsored by Bike Loudoun, designed to assist those who would like to play a constructive role, and make suggestions for change during the design of new road facilities in Virginia. Learn how to engage with the public hearing process and make the type of comments that can bring change. The workshop is on Thursday, Nov. 5 from 6-8:30pm at the Cascades Library Sterling, 21030 Whitfield Place, Sterling (map). Contact Pat Turner or Maria Nicklin of Bike Loudoun for more information. Workshop flier.

The workshop is an outgrowth of a grant received by FABB from the Alliance for Biking and Walking to develop a handbook to help bicycling advocates understand how to best influence and play a constructive role during the design of new facilities. The handbook is scheduled to be published early next year.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009
 

FABB Bike Light Giveaways

Daylight Savings Time ends on November 1, which means the sun will then set at 5:05 p.m. and it will be dark by 5:30 p.m. Riding at night without lights can be very dangerous. Reflectors are not enough, especially when two cyclists without lights meet on a trail. FABB recently received a grant from the Transurban and Fluor Community Grant Program for the Capital Beltway Project to purchase front and real lights for cyclists. We will be installing lights at the following dates and locations. Lights will only be available for those who show up with their bike. Limit 1 set per person.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009
W&OD Trail and Gallows Road (map)
Time: 4:30-6:00pm

Sunday, November 8, 2009
Annandale United Methodist Church, 6935 Columbia Pike, Annandale (map)
Time: 1:00-4:00pm

We will also be out at random locations with lights for unlit cyclists riding after dark, much like Portland's Community Cycling Center's Get Lit program.

As you can see from the photo above, we've received some help from South Lakes High School students. They earned some service hours for the high school IB program by putting together the lights; installing batteries and putting the lights on the brackets.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009
 

Highlights from other sources

Here are several items of interest that I recently came across at EcoVelo and BikePortland:

Is Happiness Still That New Car Smell?—New York Times article about the increasing number of young people who are going car-free, using bicycles, public transit, and car sharing. While it would be a challenge to do so here in Fairfax County, it's possible.
"There's a cultural change taking place," said John Casesa, a veteran auto industry analyst and partner in the Casesa Shapiro Group. "It's partly because of the severe economic contraction. But younger consumers are viewing an automobile with a jaundiced eye. They don't view the car the way their parents did, and they don’t have the money that their parents did."

Jessica Gitner, a California native, inherited her parents' used 1987 Nissan Maxima station wagon when she turned 16 and drove it 44 miles a day round-trip to high school. But when she moved to Washington, D.C., Ms. Gitner, a music intern at National Public Radio, vowed to get along without a car. She now rides her bike as well as the Metro.
♦ Lester Brown's Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save CivilizationLester Brown is a renouned American environmentalist, founder of the Worldwatch Institute, and founder and president of the Earth Policy Institute. His latest book is a roadmap for overcoming "global environmental trends such as deforestation, soil erosion, falling water tables, and rising temperature."
The thinking that got us into this mess is not likely to get us out. We need a new mindset. Let me paraphrase a comment by environmentalist Paul Hawken in a 2009 college commencement address. In recognizing the enormity of the challenge facing us, he said: First we need to decide what needs to be done. Then we do it. And then we ask if it is possible.
One of the solutions, on page 151, is the bicycle:
The Return of Bicycles—The bicycle has many attractions as a form of personal transportation. It alleviates congestion, lowers air pollution, reduces obesity, increases physical fitness, does not emit climate-disrupting carbon dioxide, and is priced within the reach of billions of people who cannot afford a car. Bicycles increase mobility while reducing congestion and the area of land paved over. Six bicycles can typically fit into the road space used by one car. For parking, the advantage is even greater, with 20 bicycles occupying the space required to park a car.
America's top bike minds ask for (and receive) advice from Europe—Jonathan Maus of BikePortand summarizes a panel discussion in which bike advocates from around the U.S. ask European bike experts how to increase bicycling in the U.S.
Also regarding your national guidelines [referring to AASHTO and the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices, which is the bible for roadway design standards developed by highway builders that has become a thorn in the side of innovative bikeway planners]. Were these guidelines a means or an end? I think you consider them an end to the conversation but they should be a means to get more people cycling.

In the Netherlands there are of course guidelines but all engineers are challenged every day to find solutions… There is a lot of freedom for trying out things and I think that's important. For things that are common already, you should use the consistency. But if you've got problems you should try out a new policy. In the Netherlands, the politician says "I want to promote cycling" so the engineers and policy makers come up with the plan.
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FABB monthly meeting

FABB meets on the third Wednesday of each month, most recently at the Vienna Community Center. Everyone is welcome to attend. This month we had a special guest, Elaena Gardiner, president of BikeSydney, fourth from the left in the photo. Elaena is traveling throughout Europe and North America and meeting with local and regional bike advocates.

Bike Coordinator Charlie Strunk provided an update on activities in his office:
  • 150 inverted U bike racks should arrive in November.
  • Bike Route signage plans are being prepared for three projects in the Dranesville District: Fleetwood Road, Kurtz/Calder, and Riverbend Rd./Beech Mill Rd.
  • Construction of the Wolftrap Road bike bridge will begin in November (see map). This will provide an important connection to Gallows Road
  • Bike route map of Civil War sites—Work has begun on this project, which was suggested by FABB and funded by a Transportation Enhancement grant (No. 09008).
  • Metrorail Station Area Bicycle and Pedestrian Improvements Study—Meetings were held to discuss bike access issues at the Vienna and Huntington Metro stations. FABB provided input at both meetings.
  • County bike parking guidelines and specifications are still being developed. On November 19 it will have been two years since Supervisor Smyth requested these guidelines.
We discussed the distribution of bike lights that were purchased with funds from the Transurban and Fluor Community Grant Program for the Capital Beltway Project. Several community groups have been contacted but no locations have been established for the giveaway. We are investigating several possibly locations.

And finally we discussed development of cross county bike routes. There was much discussion of how this related to the existing bike route map and the proposed bicycle master plan, and whether FABB has the resources to complete the task. We agreed that a FABB subcommittee will work on developing the routes, with FABB members volunteering to ride proposed routes and submitting recommendations for improvements. Volunteers are welcome and should contact FABB for more info.

After the meeting a small group reconvened at a coffee shop nearby to share ideas about effective bicycle advocacy with Elaena. Later she joined us at a meeting with Bike Loudoun to discuss the upcoming Bike Advocate's Engineering Workshop that Fionnuala Quinn of FABB will conduct for BikeLoudoun. She's off to Vancouver, BC, San Francisco, and points west on her way back to Australia.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009
 

About FABB

We've added a page with information about various FABB members. FABB is affiliated with WABA, and as such we do not have formal membership. We encourage people on our e-newsletter list join WABA. The FABB Board meets monthly, on the third Wednesday of the month, which is tonight. We'll be meeting at the Vienna Community Center, adjacent to the W&OD Trail, starting at 7:30 p.m. This month we'll be discussing our planned bike light giveaway, the Fairfax Board of Supervisors recent support for a bike plan, and a discussion of possible cross county bike routes. All are welcome to join us.

The FABB "Board" is an informal collection of Fairfax advocates who have been meeting monthly since 2005. For the first several years bike@vienna hosted our meetings, but when we outgrew that space we moved to the community center.

The Board is a diverse group that includes several computer geeks, a couple of lawyers, a physician, a civil engineer, a bike shop owner, a photographer, and a community organizer. While mostly men, several women have been or are currently members of the board. We send a bi-monthly newsletter to over 700 cyclists in the area. We also send out occasional advocacy alerts to some of those cyclists, either broadcast to all or based on zip codes. Send us a note to join our newsletter list.

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Bike to Mason Day part II

George Mason University celebrated it's first Bike to Mason Day a couple of years ago. Not content with just a spring event, they've scheduled a Fall Bike to Mason Day next Tuesday, October 27. If you plan to be on the GMU campus that day, join students, faculty, and staff for free continental breakfast, a free Bike to Mason T-Shirt and water bottle. Then at noon at Mason Hall join the bike ride around Patriot Circle led by Dr. Maurice Scherrens, GMU Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, and Dr. Sandy Scherrens, Vice President for University Life. Open to all students, faculty, staff, and contractors.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009
 

W&OD Trail detours in Reston

A new W&OD Trail detour appeared this morning. There is a section of the paved trail just west of Buckthorn Lane that was damaged by Dominion Power trucks. Buckthorn Lane is the road on the top of the steep hill just east of Reston near mile marker 15. The asphalt is being repaired over the next day or two. The detour is on the parallel, unpaved horse path that is in rough shape. There are large stones and ruts and it's hilly, so care needs to be taken when riding there. The image on the right shows where the detour begins as you're headed west into Reston from Vienna.

Notice the "flagman." There really isn't much of a need for a person to be there; it should be obvious that the trail is blocked and there is a detour. However, some overzealous cyclists have been known to ignore the signs and insist on following the paved trail, so now there is a person at each end directing traffic.

Another detour is underway just to the west of this location, under the Dulles Toll Rd west of mile marker 16. We mentioned this detour in an earlier FABB blog post. There will be considerable construction under the bridge over the next year. Trail users will be routed to the south side of the trail (on the left if you're headed west to Herndon), and that area is being paved.

Please be considerate to the construction workers in these areas. If you have complaints, contact FABB or the Trail manager.

As an aside, NVRPA staff have a convention for referring to locations on the Trail. For locating places along the trail, they use mile markers. A map of the trail with mile markers can be found on The Friends of the Washington and Old Dominion Trail website. Locations are also indicated by compass direction: The Trail runs West to East, and locations off the trail are North or South, regardless of true compass readings.

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"Vehicularists" and "facilitators"

Slate recently published the article "Stop Means Stop: How do we get bikers to obey traffic laws?." It goes beyond the usual take on cyclists, that we are all scofflaws, and touches on many of the controversial topics in cycling today, including the Idaho Stop law, and vehicular cycling vs. segregated facilities:
Today's cycling activists generally split into two groups: "vehicularists" and "facilitators." Proponents of "vehicular cycling" believe bikes should act as cars: occupy full lanes, stop at red lights, use a hand signal at least 100 feet ahead of a turn. That's the best way to make cars—and policymakers—aware of bicycles and to respect them as equals on the road. When it comes to making roads safe for bikes, vehicularists tend to favor training, education (most cities offer bike safety classes), and enforcement. Cyclists should not grouse about moving violations, the vehicularists argue. It is a sign that they're being treated as equals.

Facilitators, meanwhile, say we should change the laws and the environment to recognize the innate differences between bikes and cars. That means special facilities like bike lanes, bike paths (elevated trails separate from the road), and even Copenhagen-style traffic lights for bikes. It would also mean changing car-centric laws that don't make sense for bikes, like the rule that says you need to come to a complete stop at a stop sign.
Both sides have good points. The challenge the "facilitators" have is redesigning and implementing a whole new infrastructure at great cost. Many of our trails and bike lanes do not connect. We already have connected road system; the real challenge is how do we make our roads more bike-friendly. By narrowing lanes and creating wider outside lanes we can use the existing pavement more effectively at little cost.

Bike lanes and shared use paths can be effective if properly designed and implemented. They will continue to grow in popularity, but in the meantime we need to make our roads into complete streets, that can be safely used by everyone.

To read more about the bike lane controversy raised in the Slate article, see the Examiner article "Do League of American Bicyclists instructors have a role in advocacy?"

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Friday, October 16, 2009
 

BikeDC tomorrow

Don't let a little rain keep you from enjoying Bike DC tomorrow. It's a rare chance to ride in many places not known for being bike-friendly. It's also a chance to celebrate the many sights of the DC area. Most of us have decent rain gear, so why not put it to good use and join Bike DC.

Today WAMU featured "Bike DC's Rick Bauman at the Francis Scott Key Park in Georgetown - overlooking the soon-to-be traffic-free Whitehurst Freeway" in Biking DC's Forbidden Roads.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009
 

FABB receives grant for bike light giveaway

Many cyclists in Fairfax depend on bicycles for transportation. Some of these cyclists do not have bicycle lights, which are required by Virginia law on all bicycles ridden after dark. FABB recently applied for a grant from the Transurban and Fluor Community Grant Program for the Capital Beltway Project to purchase bike lights to be given to area bicyclists who cannot afford lights. We received funding and will hold events during the last week of October and first week of November to hand out the lights and safety information. If you would like to volunteer at one of these events, or have ideas about the giveaway events, please contact us at chairman (at) fabb-bikes (dot) org.

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Fear of Cycling

Copenhagenize.com recently completed a series of articles on the Fear of Cycling by David Horton, a British sociologist. He explores one of the main reasons people don't cycle. Often the dangers of cycling are stressed so strongly that many people are put off; and yet cycling is safer than driving (40,000 people killed every year), swimming and other activities. In fact, it's probably more dangerous not to cycle.

The article is in five parts and the final part was just completed, on "how the identity of 'the cyclist' tends to invoke fear." In the article he explores some reasons why the image of cyclists has been marginalized. Horton is a sociologist, so the writing style is academic, but the message is certainly thought-provoking:
Newspaper editors are attuned to knowing what their readers and advertisers want (and we should note how a high proportion of those advertisers belong to the system of automobility, on whose revenues newspapers depend). Media accounts are therefore likely to reproduce dominant representations of the cyclist as a 'yob', law-breaker and outsider (for example, Hoey 2003).

Such stereotyping works by isolating certain behaviours, stripping them from their meaningful context, and attributing them to 'everyone associated with a particular group or category' (Pickering 2001, 4). And these stereotypical representations contribute to the maintenance of the cyclist as a strange 'other' (Basford et al 2003; Dickinson 2004; Field 1996; Reid 2004).

Against the context of socially and ecologically destructive automobility, the reproduction of concerns about cyclists' behaviour is a classic example of scapegoating (Cohen 2002). Scapegoating deflects attention away from greater crimes, by in this case sacrificing the cyclist in the ideological pursuit of 'motoring-as-usual'. Through representing the marginal practice of cycling as 'deviant', the dominant practice of car driving is reproduced and reaffirmed as 'normal'. Representations of cycling as deviant and cyclists as outsiders both contribute to, and are facilitated by, low levels of cycling which mean that few people are able to take, and defend, the cyclist's point of view.

But times are changing.

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Saturday, October 10, 2009
 

Vienna bicycle advisory committee forming

The first meeting of the Vienna Bicycle Advisory Committee will be held on Thursday, October 15. According to the Vienna Transportation Safety Committee website: "The Vienna Transportation Safety Commission would like to invite all Vienna residents interested in bicycle safety to attend the first meeting the the new Vienna Bicycle Advisory Commission. This will be a voluntary commission and it is open to all residents. The meeting will be held on Thursday, Oct. 15, 2009 at 8pm in the lower level conference room." Town offices are located at 127 Center St. South, Vienna.

If you're interested in bicycling issues in the Town of Vienna, this is a good opportunity to become involved. Among the topics to be discussed are the proposed changes to the Town Bikeway Plan that we discussed in an earlier post about the decision of the Town Council to defer action on the changes.

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Wednesday, October 7, 2009
 

The Top 10 Facts on Bicycling

America Bikes just released a list of The Top 10 Facts on Bicycling and Walking in the United States (list includes sources):
1. Bicycling and walking make up 10% of all trips made in the United States, but receive less than two percent of federal transportation funding.

2. Bicyclists and pedestrians account for 13% of traffic fatalities, but receive less than one percent of federal safety funding.

3. 40% of all trips in America are two miles or less, 74% of which are traveled by car.

4. Americans spend, on average, 18% of their annual income for transportation. The average annual operating cost of a bicycle is 3.75% ($308) of an average car ($8,220).

5. A small reduction in driving causes a large drop in traffic. In 2008, the number of vehicle miles travelled dropped 3%, translating to a nearly 30% reduction in peak hour congestion.

6. Transportation sources account for 70% of our nation's oil consumption and for 30% of total U.S. GHG emissions.

7. Simply increasing bicycling and walking from 10% of trips to 13% could lead to fuel savings of around 3.8 billion gallons a year. This is equivalent to having 19 million more hybrid cars on the road.

8. 89% of Americans believe that transportation investments should support the goals of reducing energy use.

9. 71% of Americans report that they would like to bicycle more. 53% favor increasing federal spending on bicycle lanes and paths.

10. For the price of one mile of four‐lane urban highway, around $50 million, hundreds of miles of bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure can be built, an investment that could complete an entire network of active transportation facilities for a mid-sized city.
(As reported by EcoVelo)

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Portland police bicycle traffic enforcment video

As reported on Bike Portland, the Portland police have just released a new internal training video to be used to refresh police knowledge of the traffic code and to give them guidance on how to apply the code. The basic message is that officers should apply common sense to enforcement of the code; not necessarily by the letter of the law by whether the offender was acting in a dangerous manner with intent to break the law. A cyclist slowly cruising through a stop sign while looking in all directions should be treated much differently than one dangerously blowing the sign at speed.

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You don't have to be a superhero

That's the title of a bicycle advertisement in the UK on how by simply bicycling we can reduce our impact on climate change. It would be nice if LAB, America Bikes, or the Alliance for Biking and Walking had funds for a few general bicycle advertisements in the mainstream media. As Mikael Colville-Andersen pointed out in his recent talk about Copenhagen bicycle culture, we see plenty of ads for all the wonderful things you can do in a car; we need more positive bicycle ads. Here's the ad as seen on the LAB blog:

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Tuesday, October 6, 2009
 

Fairfax County Board supports bicycle master plan

At yesterday's Board of Supervisor's meeting Lee District Supervisor Jeff McKay presented the following Board Matter:
Support for a Bicycle Master Plan for Fairfax County

Madam Chairman—Use of the bicycle as a mode of transportation in Fairfax County has grown in recent years. Reasons include the spike in gas prices, environmental and health concerns, and the desire for transportation choices. The opportunity for bicycling to have a significant impact in these areas can be seen in the simple fact that nearly 40% of all vehicle trips are less than 2 miles and could be taken by bicycle.

The County has taken important first steps in fostering bicycle transportation by installing bike racks on all Connector buses, creating the Fairfax County Bicycle Map which shows cyclists the best routes through our communities, and funding the position of bicycle coordinator. The next phase, as proven by other large jurisdictions around the country, is the creation of a bicycle master plan that would serve as a blueprint for integrating bicycling into our transportation infrastructure.

This blueprint for bicycle accommodations must include goals and objectives, analysis of the existing network, a prioritized list of needed improvements which includes bicycle parking and other end-of-trip facilities, and an implementation strategy. A Fairfax County Bicycle Master Plan would build on the information in the Trails Plan and the County Bike Map and create a coordinated, simple strategy for the County.

Therefore I move that the Board endorse the concept only at this stage of a bicycle master plan. I fully understand the county's current fiscal situation and therefore ask that the Department of Transportation staff investigate the cost of such a plan and provide a longer term recommendation to the Board for the possible funding and development of a plan.
This is a major first step toward development of a bicycle master plan for the county, the number one goal of FABB. As mentioned in the Board Matter, the plan would include a comprehensive assessment of current bicycling conditions in the county and development of a prioritized list of on-road and off-road bicycle projects, with specific goals for the future, something that is missing in the current Trails Plan. Recommendations for development of other bicycle infrastructure would also be included.

Thanks to Supervisor McKay and the Board for their support for a bicycle master plan. The next step will be to find funding for the plan and FABB is looking at several options.

[Update 6Oct09: Post article references Board action, Fairfax Co. Tackles Bond Sale, Bicycle Plan, Other Business.] According to the article, Supervisor Herrity has reservations about providing bike facilities:
Supervisor Pat Herrity (R-Springfield) asked for a county estimate on the number of average daily bicyclers, saying that the additional 40 feet of horizontal right-of-way needed on some paved roads for bicycle lanes was a "pretty expensive investment."

"In an era of precious few resources, we need to spend them in the way that gives us the most benefit," Herrity said.
I don't know where he came up with the 40 foot right-of-way figure. Adding 3 feet to a 12 foot lane for a wide curb lane or 5 feet for bike lanes would only add a total of 6 or 10 feet of right-of-way to a road. In Reston, on Lawyers Road, no right-of-way was needed for the bike lanes created by reducing the road from 4 to 2 lanes with bike lanes.

Even with 5-foot bike lanes and a 10 foot multi-use trail added to a road project, we're talking about 24-26 additional feet maximum. We plan to contact Supervisory Herrity's office to clarify his position. After all, he is known to ride his bike to work and he did support bike facilities on Rolling Road when we met with him in June 2008.

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Priority bike projects from FABB survey

Over the past year we conducted a survey of visitors to the FABB website. We received over 70 responses. See an earlier FABB post for results of the FABB survey. Not included were the results of the following question: "What are the top two or three roads or stretches of road in Fairfax County that are in need of bicycle accommodations? (Lanes, route signs, wider road lanes or paved shoulders, etc.)"

The top locations where cyclists want better bike accommodations are listed below. The most frequently listed road was Franconia Rd, with several people asking for bike lanes on the section between the bike lanes on Beulah St and Brookland Rd. This would provide a better route to the Eisenhower Ave Connector at Clermont Dr. This route is used by many cyclists in the Springfield/Lee District area to ride to Alexandria and into DC. The Huntington and Franconia-Springfield Metro stations are also nearby.

The next two routes listed, Route 50 and Braddock Rd, are major east-west connections for bike commuters and other cyclists. Most bicycle traffic in this area headed east or west is funneled onto these routes (and Route 236), to cross the Beltway, and where there are no parallel connecting routes.

Route 7 is a major challenge. Cyclists need access in the Tysons area, across the Beltway and under I-66 near West Falls Church Metro, and further west at Georgetown Pike.

Several cyclists noted the need to repave the Fairfax County Parkway and improve sight distance at several crossings, including at Sunset Hills Rd and the Dulles Toll Rd in Reston, and at Route 50. Wayfinding signs are needed along the length of the trail, including detour signs in several places where there is not parallel sidepath. The wide, paved shoulders need to be swept on a regular basis.

Below are the top locations listed:
Times
mentioned
Road
10Franconia Rd
7Route 50
6Braddock Road
6Route 7
6Fairfax Co Parkway
5Rolling Rd
4Gallows Rd
4Old Keene Mill Rd
3Rt 123
3Rt 236
This is valuable information that we are using to develop a list of priority bike projects.

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Friday, October 2, 2009
 

How to get more bicyclists on the road

One way is to find out why more women don't ride bikes in the U.S., according to a recent article in Scientific American entitled "How to Get More Bicyclists on the Road: To boost urban bicycling, figure out what women want" By Linda Baker.
"If you want to know if an urban environment supports cycling, you can forget about all the detailed 'bikeability indexes'—just measure the proportion of cyclists who are female," says Jan Garrard, a senior lecturer at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia, and author of several studies on biking and gender differences.

Women are considered an "indicator species" for bike-friendly cities for several reasons. First, studies across disciplines as disparate as criminology and child ­rearing have shown that women are more averse to risk than men. In the cycling arena, that risk aversion translates into increased demand for safe bike infrastructure as a prerequisite for riding. Women also do most of the child care and household shopping, which means these bike routes need to be organized around practical urban destinations to make a difference.
According to the research, dedicated, separated facilities may be the key to attracting more women to cycling. However, many experienced cyclists point out that riding in the road with traffic is usually safer than riding in a separated facility. An integrated network of dedicated, separated facilities is critical; having piecemeal trails or isolated, poorly implemented bike lanes is often worse than no facility.

Where dedicated facilities are the most successful and safe are in places like Portland and Copenhagen where the government has made a strong commitment to providing properly engineered, complete networks of bike routes.

It is interesting that those experienced cyclists who argue most strongly in favor of having few or no dedicated bike facilities, who say that cyclists should be treated as equal road users and should be an integral part of traffic, are almost always men (including myself). Among bicycle advocates, the topic of dedicated bike facilities is volatile and I've only briefly touched upon some of the issues. For a full discussion of the topic, see the Wikipedia article Segregated cycle facilities.

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Bike Culture and Policies in Denmark

We attended the talk by Mikael Colville-Andersen entitled Cycle Chic-Bike Culture and Policies in Denmark sponsored by the Coalition for Smarter Growth, WABA and League of American Bicyclists on Wed. It was a wide-ranging talk that didn't focus much on the specifics of bike policies or infrastructure but was more about the culture of bicycling in Denmark.

Mikael made the point that bicycling is so integrated into Danish culture that cyclists don't consider themselves "bicyclists"; bicycles are just another tool that they use. They use them because they are a fast and easy way to get around Copenhagen. He said the best way to get more people in the U.S. to use bikes is to make them easy for people to use. With the opening of the Union Station bike station and the planned expansion of bike sharing in the area, cycling is becoming easier for people in this area (although not necessarily so in Fairfax).

Mikael's blog www.copenhagencyclechic.com celebrates the fact that cycling in Copenhagen is very chic, done with style by all segments of society.

Mikael noted that often when bicycling is discussed in the U.S., the dangers are stressed rather than the many benefits. If cars were discussed in the same way, people might become more conscious of the many dangers associated with driving. The benefits of bicycling are 20 times greater than the risks. Bicycles should be marketed more like cars, stressing the many positive aspects.

Within a 1 km radius of Mikael's apartment in Copenhagen there are 22 bike shops. Most people don't bother doing repairs or fixing flats themselves, they go to a nearby shop.

Many immigrants to Denmark haven't learned how to ride a bike. It's such a basic part of Danish life that when immigrants learn the Dutch language, they can often learn to ride a bike at the same institution.

There was a good crowd for the talk, with many bikes parked on the sidewalk outside the building, several of which were cargo bikes.

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Bike Transit Center opens at Union Station

The new bike parking station at Union Station opens today, with an opening ceremony at 11:30am.
The center will have 150 enclosed bike racks and 20 outdoor racks. The 1,700-square-foot building west of the station will also have changing rooms, personal lockers, a bike repair shop and a retail store that will sell drinks and bike accessories.

The center will have 150 enclosed bike racks and 20 outdoor racks. The 1,700-square-foot building west of the station will also have changing rooms, personal lockers, a bike repair shop and a retail store that will sell drinks and bike accessories.

Riders interested in parking their bikes at the center can choose from several payment options. Cyclists can pay $2 to park for one day. Alternative plans include a $20 annual administrative fee. Riders can purchase $12 monthly parking passes, as well as discounted $1 day passes in bulks ranging from $10 to $50. Riders who purchase these passes will have access to the center during its regular operating hours, weekdays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and weekends from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Annual memberships and round-the-clock access to the racks may be purchased for $96.

Anyone interested in buying parking passes for the center may visit www.bikestation.com.

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