From one town’s banning of bicycles to some tragic news from our streets, this week has been keeping bicycling advocates busy across the country. Here are some of the stories that you may have missed.
In Black Hawk, Colorado, a tiny town of 118 residents, local government has decided to ban bicycle riding on most streets in an effort to “promote safety.” While there have been no motorist/cyclist collisions in recent memory, officials note that “the Federal Highways Administration says that public roads should accommodate bicyclists, but they don’t withhold funding if their guidance is not followed.” [emphasis mine] Ack! Bicycle Colorado – an impressive state-wide advocacy group based in Denver – is working hard to bring attention to this issue before it sets any kind of precedent. Learn all about what they are doing, and what you can do, here.
In other national news, Eric Cantor (House Republican Whip from Virginia) has set his sights on the Safe Routes to School program, which funds innumerable infrastructure projects across the country. Rep. Cantor claims that SRTS duplicates other bicycling and walking programs and that bicycling and walking infrastructure is a local government responsibility. This could have serious implications for planned bikeways, sidewalks, crosswalks and other safety measures in our community. It would be 2 minutes well spent if you reach out to your local representative and let them know that you support Safe Routes to School! Please take a moment and ask your Rep to vote against any effort to cut Safe Routes to School!
SFBC does not mention every collision in our region, but particularly in light of my last post, I’d like to bring up two fatal crashes that occurred this week in the Miami area. The first story, posted on SpokesnFolks.blogspot.com, suggests that a man running a stop sign was hit by a responsible motorist and killed in front of his two kids. It’s a terrible tragedy and while we have few details, it reminds us how important it is to ride safely, follow the rules of the road and make every effort to be seen in the street. The crash happened on a residential street – far from heavy traffic or the typical distracted drivers of major commercial areas. I’m sure this young dad felt safe –
The second story reminds us of the frightening trend of hit-and-run accidents in South Florida. An elderly man was walking along the sidewalk on Calle Ocho (SW 8th Street – a busy one-way commercial street) when an apparently distracted driver hit and left him to die before driving off. The motorist still has not been caught. What is it in a person that would allow him to run over someone and then run away?
We know that many of you read this blog regularly and we thank everyone who subscribes. SFBC is a member-driven force and this is our way of communicating with you and involving you in the decisions we make everyday. In our last post, I found myself writing this perhaps obvious statement: “Everyone has a story of when they drove and they shouldn’t have – because they were tired, distracted, tipsy or some other reason. Everyone knows someone who was seriously hurt or killed by a car.” It inspired us to reach out to MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) and made us think that we should collaborate with them. Together, we can unite our voices in support of “ending drunk driving and supporting victims of this violent crime,” two of the pillars of MADD’s mission. So we spoke with Janet Mondshein, and she mentioned to me something that I think she says in every conversation she ever has: we have to act because “Drunk Driving is 100% preventable.“
Obvious, right? What are you doing to prevent it? Just think, if no one drove drunk, people on the street might stop thinking a DUI is why you bicycle!! But seriously, you shouldn’t drive when you’re buzzed and since you’ve made so many friends bicycling on all these cool group rides, you have plenty of people who you can call for a ride, not least of which is a taxi. [end of Mama Bicycle Tone]
We believe that the South Florida Bike Coalition will better serve bicyclists by continuing to seek out not only fellow bicycling groups but all advocates for better, safer use of the public right-of-way, environmentalists, promoters of healthy living and civic activists of different kinds. These groups are increasingly realizing that bicycling is a natural way to live their ideals. If you are boycotting oil, taking charge of your physical health or promoting stronger neighborhood interaction and civic engagement, let us know how we can help.
Last but not least, I’ve been wanting to post this video and this feels like the right time. It’s an incredibly beautiful short film about our community’s response to Christophe LeCanne’s hit-and-run death by a drunk driver and a moving, inspirational portrait of a ghost bike: The Journey is the Thing