Friday, May 27, 2011

CRETINS Summer Kick-Off BBQ, Dodgeball, Mini-Ride

First full-on Cretins event of the year! Summer Kick-Off BBQ/Dodgeball/Rager sesh!

Bring yummy thangs to BBQ. Takin' back Sunday Funday for the homies. It's gonna be a good summer...

Note: The Punk Rock MTB Ride has been postponed one week to Sunday, June 5 in order not to conflict w/ this fun, special event.

May Critical Mass Tonite at 7pm: An Opportunity to Promote Cycling

SDCM is tonite! Meets at 7pm, The Fountain. Take advantage of the visibility by promoting bicycling and encouraging others to join. It's important to assert your right to the road. But avoid unnecessary non-self-defense-related overt aggression. If you think riding CM means you can act like a dick, start your own ride. If that's how you roll, we challenge you to try starting your own monthly ride.

Veteran San Diego Critical Mass riders have been promoting CM since there were 20-30 people 6 years ago and helped it grow year after year (from 35 people in late '05 to 1,200 in early '08) by keeping the ride posi-core, community-oriented, ensconced in punk rock solidarity principles, and riding consciously while providing constructive communication and fun, upbeat energy. Keep that alive. Don't let it die because a small minority of people want to exploit the Mass for their own selfish endeavors like riding on the freeway. If you like to ride on the freeway do it on your own ride. Or, if you're serious about opening up freeways for bicycling, send us an email ( biccontrol[at]gmail ) and we'll put you in touch w/ some California bike advocates who share your interest. Otherwise, please stay off the freeway, especially the Coronado Bridge. It will only bring unnecessary heat to the ride, that veteran riders worked hard to build-up. Why do the freeway advocates generally tend to be beginners new to the ride who have no local bike advocacy history of how it got the way it did?

Use CM to leverage change! Use it to promote cycling and attract new riders! Have fun, communicate, and keep that shit posi!

New Sharrows, Bike Lanes Continue to Pop Up Around Town

If you've been riding in the City of SD the last couple months you've probably noticed the couple dozen or so sharrows that have popped-up all over Mid City (i.e. North Park, Kensington, University Heights, City Heights) which go as far west as Point Loma area and as far south east as, well, South East SD.

A new bike lane was been created on Park Blvd.

The changes are fantastic. We owe the relatively new City of San Diego Bike Coordinator for being a champion for bike facilities that San Diego needed long ago.

While cyclists report new sharrows w/ excitement, some average San Diegans are dumbfounded--as evidenced by some of the comments appearing on the handful of articles written on the new sharrows:

The Voice of San Diego did a nice article here.

The Reader wrote a fair piece here.

Finally, Aaron did a solid job for Bike San Diego (below):

Sharrows in the Lane

Posted By Aaron Garland on May 11, 2011

There is a buzz in the San Diego bike community. It is bike month and everyone is talking about the new “Sharrows” that are popping up around the city. If you don’t already know, Sharrows are street markings that depict a bicycle below two chevrons. The purpose of the sharrow is to bring awareness to car drivers that bicycles have a right to the road and to educate bicycle riders on proper lane positioning and direction.


San Diego's Sharrow Placers, Rose Chavez and Laura Avila. Photo by Aaron Garland

This is a new thing for many of us in San Diego, but it is legitimate and has been approved nationally. In 2004, California was the first state to adopted the Sharrow as an official road marking. Many other states followed and in 2009 it was officially included in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices by the Federal Highway Administration.

Sharrows help remind cyclists to stay clear of the opening doors of parked cars (door zone), and to ride in the center of the lane when it is unsafe for other vehicles to pass (take the lane). They also remind everyone that cyclists have the same right to the road as drivers of motor vehicles.

Last Friday, I was fortunate to meet Rose Chavez and Laura Avila who work for the City of San Diego’s Streets Division. These ladies are the workers in the field laying down the thermoplastic sharrows. They came direct with orders from Jim Lundquist, the city’s Bicycle Coordinator. I was impressed by the enthusiasm and pride that Rose and Laura took in their work. They admitted that there was a little bit of a learning curve with setting down these new to San Diego road markings. They explained that they had orders to place Sharrows 3 feet from the road edge in areas without street parking, 11 feet from the edge of the street in areas with parallel parking, and that there was at least one sharrow they would have to remove and replace in order to have proper road placement of all the Sharrows. They also chimed in that they were not on the pot-hole crew, so unfortunately they couldn’t personally help me out with this obvious cycling hazard that seems to plague most of San Diego. I hope the pot-hole crew has workers as dedicated as Rose and Laura. It made me feel good to meet Rose and Laura, because it was apparent that in their jobs with the City of San Diego they strive to improve road conditions for everyone, and that they are conscientious and concerned with the needs of vulnerable road users.

More new Sharrows on Terrace Drive by Adams Avenue.

Keep an eye out for Rose and Laura, as they along with Jim and others in the city that help improve road conditions deserve our thanks and praise, as well as feedback on our needs as road users.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Best Bike Article of 2011 Published in LA Business Journal

Don't judge this article by it's title--The following opinion piece is the single best bike article written in 2011. It's a fantastic tool for dismantling the ignorance that creates hostile socio-political climates for bicyclists. Unfortunately, the type of thinking criticized below hurts us all:

Getting in Gear on Bikes

OP-ED: Arguments against sharing the road with cyclists should no longer be driving the discussion. By RICHARD RISEMBERG Monday, May 9, 2011

With close to 150,000 Angelenos basking in the afterglow of bicycle fest CicLAvia, it is easy to forget that all too many other Angelenos are assiduously sharpening their tongues to continue the vicious spite campaign against any support whatsoever of practical cycling.

A cursory exploration of blogs and newspaper article comment sections clearly shows this. The ubiquitous Mr. Anonymous is ever ready to drop his cluster bombs of accusations, slurs and imaginary factoids in a relentless campaign to prevent even the most minor cession of a smidgen of road space to cycling in a city whose roads are choked, not by bicyclists, but by drivers.

Yet more and more middle-class Americans are taking to bicycles for transportation. They are tired of having their lives dominated by their cars, and since 40 percent of trips made in this country are less than two miles, why not make sense once in a while?

So, let us review the four fallacies of antibike vituperation, and see how they stand up against reality:

• The “scofflaw cyclists” argument

I find it grimly amusing that motorists are so affronted by cyclists who roll through stop signs and even red lights. Not because I approve of running stop signs, but because motorists are so thoroughly addicted to the practice themselves – and so much more dangerous when they do it, outweighing cyclists 200 to one. For laughs, I once spent a month counting the motorists who actually came to a full stop at a stop sign. Answer: two. In New York, where a Draconian crackdown on “scofflaw cyclists” is underway, Department of Transportation and Police Department data for the five years ending in 1999 show the following:

Pedestrians killed by bicyclists: 1 annually.

Pedestrians killed by motor vehicles: 250 annually.

This is in a city where few drive. It does indicate where any crackdowns should be focused, though.

• The “cyclists don’t pay road taxes” argument

This is particularly rich in hypocrisy. As a matter of fact, according to numerous studies (my favorite being one by the Transportation Department in good ol’ conservative Texas), car and fuel fees and taxes never pay for more than half the cost of building and maintaining roads for motorists. In fact, since 1947, the shortfall in user fees for these asphalt handouts has been $600 billion, making private driving the most socialistic program the United States has ever seen. Those who drive less or not at all are overtaxed in every other aspect of their lives to pay for “free” roads, “free” ways and “free” public parking for motorists. Cyclists just want the right to use a little of that road space that they have paid and paid for over the years, but keep getting shoved out of by self-righteous drivers.

• The “bike lanes cost too much” argument

I’ll quote but one figure, from Portland, Ore., famous for “coddling” bicyclists: All of the last 20 years’ worth of bicycle infrastructure put into place in Portland – including 300 miles of bike lanes, paths, and boulevards – cost no more than one mile of four-lane urban freeway, and now accommodates nearly 7 percent of all commuter travel in the city.

• The “reducing driving kills business” argument

This is just another knee-jerk reaction to the unfamiliar. An examination of past implementations shows otherwise: For most businesses, the addition of bike lanes and bicycle parking means better cash flow. Cyclists move slower than cars, can window shop as they ride, and can stop and shop on a whim. You can park 12 bicycles where only one car would fit. Shop owners in Portland clamor for more bike infrastructure, so that they can grab some of cyclists’ loot. There’s a waiting list for bike corrals in front of shops there since merchants have seen the effects of the first efforts.

Los Angeles is a backwards city in regards to support of cycling. Not only are New York, Portland, San Francisco and Minneapolis ahead of us, so are local towns such as Santa Monica and Long Beach.

Instead of endlessly repeating past errors that have led to an inefficient, endlessly congested, tax-draining autos-only road system, let’s give the city a chance to be fiscally and socially responsible and make room for cyclists on some of that asphalt they have been taxed for all these years.

Even if you don’t care about the environment, you can’t argue with lower taxes, less congestion, livelier retail, and a healthier and happier work force – especially in a city finding it hard to compete with its more progressive fellows for business and for businesses.

Richard Risemberg is co-editor of the urban sustainability Webzine the New Colonist, publisher and editor of a bike commuter Webzine named Bicycle Fixation, and owner of a small business that designs and manufactures clothing for bicycle commuters. He lives and works in Los Angeles.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Awarewolfs Ride This Tuesday, 10pm

Punk Rock MTB Ride Expands: Now Every Full Moon, too!

Since once every other Sunday isn't enough to contain the fun of the Punk Rock MTB Rides, the rides will now be expanding to take place every Full Moon, as well!

The first Full Moon PRMTB ride will be this Tuesday, May 17! The rides will meet at 7:30pm at Rebecca's Coffeeshop.

In order to support and not conflict w/ our friends the Awarewolfs, the PRMTB Full Moon rides will end at the start location of the Awarewolfs rides which meet every Full Moon evening at 10pm at various locations downtown. (See next entry for more).

PRMTB is a dirt ride. Awarewolfs do short road rides.

To reiterate, the PRMTB will be every Full Moon at 7:30pm and every other Sunday (next one tomorrow, May 15) at 1pm meeting at the same location.

Velo Cult Museum Now Open

Yes, please.

More treats for your eyes and brain here.