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July 2013

Help Save Bicycle/Pedestrian Funding TODAY!

By | Coalition News, Featured Posts, Funding Sources

 

Legislative Action Alert! Please help us maintain the Transportation Alternatives program which is the only dedicated federal funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects.  Just last year Congress cut this funding by 30%.  Senator Paul of Kentucky has introduced an amendment to the Transportation Appropriations bill to prohibit ANY MONEY from being used for Transportation Alternatives, and to redirect that money towards other projects. Taking that small amount of funding away would dangerously undermine efforts in our cities, towns and counties to provide safe and efficient transportation options for everyone.  

Please contact your Senators (enter your zip code on the next page) and ask them to save Transportation Alternatives by voting NO on amendment 1742.  The Senate hopes to finish this bill today or tomorrow so please act soon!

Please note: Senator Collins actions on the Paul amendment will be critical!  She is the ranking Republican on the Transportation, HUD Appropriations Committee and her vote will effect other Republicans. 

Senator Collins  regional offices can be reached at the numbers below:

Bangor

202 Harlow Street, Room 204

Bangor, ME 04402

(207) 945-0417

(207) 990-4604

 

Augusta

68 Sewall Street, Room 507

Augusta, ME 04330

(207) 622-8414

(207) 622-5884

 

Biddeford

160 Main Street

Biddeford, ME 04005

(207) 283-1101

(207) 283-4054

 

Lewiston

55 Lisbon Street

Lewiston, ME 04240

(207) 784-6969

(207) 782-6475

 

Caribou

25 Sweden Street, Suite A

Caribou, ME 04736

(207) 493-7873

(207) 493-7810

 

Portland

One Canal Plaza, Suite 802

Portland, ME 04101

(207) 780-3575

(207) 828-0380

Join Us at the Annual Coalition Flatbread Fundraising Party!

By | Coalition News, Events, Featured Posts

Calling all pizza lovers! Come join us for our annual Flatbread fundraising party for a night of food, fun, bikes, and friends. Put it on your calendar now so you don’t miss out: TUESDAY, JULY 30.  Whether you ride  2 miles or 20 miles to get there, pizza is a great post ride snack!

Flatbread will be donating a portion of the night’s proceeds (take-out orders included) to the Coalition and as a bonus, Shipyard will be donating a dollar for every beer sold.  Support the Coalition and satisfy your pizza craving all at the same time!

  • Where: Flatbread Company, 72 Commercial St #5, Portland, ME ‎
  • When: Tuesday, July 30th, 5-9pm
  • What: Pizza and bikes, what could be better! 

ALLEN AFIELD: Give cyclists room (Morning Sentinel)

By | Coalition News, Speak up for Biking, Stay Safe

This article originally appeared in the Morning Sentinel

 

July 12 

ALLEN AFIELD: Give cyclists room 

BY KEN ALLEN

In June, a truck hit and killed a Massachusetts bicyclist during the Trek Across Maine, making an enormous impression on me for two reasons:

* The incident occurred on Route 2 just north of my home, a delightful rural highway that I pedal often.

* In my humble opinion, a Maine bicycling law encourages motor vehicles to come too close to bicyclists, creating a danger that could lead to fatalities. More on this point in a moment.

First, let me say that I have bicycled seriously for 24 years (like most days from April through early December) and find the sport safe and most drivers cooperative. When motor-vehicle operators do something annoying or dangerous to me, it’s usually from ignorance, not intentional meanness.

That fatality in the Trek Across Maine caught my attention, though, mostly because the incident reminded me of a pet-peeve. Maine has a law that prohibits motor vehicles on highways from coming within three feet of bicycles, which — in my opinion — encourages driver to pass pedalers too closely on roads with a 55 mph speed limits.

A 3-foot prohibition might work in cities with a 25 mph limit, but on a road like Route 27 or 2 with an often-broken 55 mph, I do not want a vehicle passing me three or even four feet away, traveling at 62 mph or more.

For starters, if my wheels hit a small rock or crack, and I fall left as a motor vehicle speeds past too closely, then I have a good chance of getting run over. When lying on the ground after a fall from a 58cm road bike, I’ve measured from the wheel track to the top of my head — 6-feet, 2-inches.

In fact, when I’m pedaling on Routes 27, 2, 3 or 17, my usual roads with breakdown lanes, motorists give me a much wider clearance than 3-feet, often well beyond 6-feet. Even on narrow highways, vehicles often pass well beyond me. So motor-vehicle operators know more than legislators, who passed the 3-foot law that may encourage drivers to come too closely.

Here are other salient points about bicycles on public highways:

People occasionally tell me that bicycles should be prohibited from public highways, and when someone utters this claim, I explain that in my opinion, the 14th Amendment would prohibit a bicycle ban — the part that says “no state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.”

In short, the Constitution says that I cannot be denied privileges extended to other citizens until I’ve done something to lose the privilege. My comment needs testing in the Supreme Court for a definitive conclusion, and no, I wouldn’t debate this point with anyone, because I’m no attorney.

Second, bicycles predate motor vehicles. Long before the very invention of motor vehicles, walkers, runners, horseback riders, horse-drawn wagons and then bicyclists used public byways — a precedent.

Third, most bicyclists drive vehicles, so they pay gasoline taxes that help build roads and bridges, and I’m a good example. I drive a half-ton, 2-wheel pickup and have occasionally given gas money to two daughters and to Jolie, my intrepid companion, so I have bought gasoline for four people, which has paid for my road use.

I also bicycle for three-season transportation, which lessens harmful pollution — my contribution to the environment.

I cannot leave this bicycling topic without mentioning an incident that occurred to me on Route 2 in July 2011, but I am not suggesting a correlation between the Trek Across Maine fatality and the following anecdote from two years ago. My story just involved a threatening comment aimed at me while I was bicycling Route 2:

I was pedaling east from Farmington Falls a mile or so west of down-town New Sharon, and a large trailer truck blocked the breakdown lane. There were no approaching vehicles, so I pedaled into the travel lane and started by the parked truck just as the driver crawled from beneath the trailer in front of the eight back wheels. He looked hard into my eyes and said, “You shouldn’t bicycle on this road. People will run right over you!”

The tone of his voice did not suggest a friendly warning; however, I have bicycled this road for 12 years with no memorable events marring my day, so the comment shocked me into silence for several seconds, quite a feat, because I’m normally a quick-mouthed smart aleck. Finally, out of morbid curiosity, I blurted out, “Why would anyone do that?”

The man had no satisfactory answer.

I continued toward New Sharon and to Route 27 and home, but his comment has stuck with me, a memory that crosses my mind each time I pedal this rural highway.

Ken Allen, of Belgrade Lakes, a writer, editor and photographer, may be reached at KAllyn800@yahoo.com