Join or Renew

 
Monthly Archives

November 2013

2013 Bicycle Coalition of Maine Annual Appeal

By | Coalition News, Featured Posts

 
Click here to give to the Annual Fund now.
At a time when increasing numbers of Mainers and Americans are embracing bicycling for health, transportation, and recreation, your commitment to the Bicycle Coalition of Maine is more important than ever.  The need for consistent law enforcement, safe infrastructure that encourages all types of riders, and a culture inclusive of biking are crucial for the growth of cycling in our state.
While interest in bicycling is high, the obstacles to getting on a bike can be foreboding.  Too many Mainers would like to bike more but are simply too afraid.  Many bicyclists feel that there is no protection by law enforcement, especially after a crash. They want more bike infrastructure such as paved shoulders, bike lanes, and separated facilities, like multi-use paths. They feel unsafe sharing the road with speeding and increasingly distracted drivers who don’t understand what it’s like to ride a bike among cars.  While we have made progress in making Maine better for bicycling, we need your help to address these challenges.
At the Coalition we work year round to improve law enforcement around bicycling, increase safe bicycling infrastructure, and to promote bicycling as a viable transportation mode.  Here’s what we’ve accomplished in the past year, and where we hope to go in 2014 with your support.
Law Enforcement
In the past year, the Coalition has formed a Law Enforcement Committee that includes three bicycle riding police officers, and is tasked with strengthening our relationship with all levels of law enforcement and the judicial system to ensure that bicycle law is understood, enforced, and applied to both cyclists and drivers.  Our interactions with law enforcement have included bike safety and bike rodeo trainings for police, conversations around specific bike crashes or incidents, meetings with groups of police chiefs, and partnering with many police departments to distribute free bike lights as part of our Bike Brightly campaign.
These efforts have reaped some rewards, but we need your help to further strengthen our relationship with the law enforcement community.  We plan to develop a series of training and educational tools highlighting the changes we made to Maine’s bike law during the 2013 legislative session. This information would then be included in mandatory training requirements for law enforcement officers and would compliment an increase in bicycle education in the criminal justice curriculum.
Finally, in an effort to give the law enforcement community the power they need to ensure that proper punishments are doled out to offending motorists, we hope to introduce a Vulnerable User bill during the 2015 legislative session.  Such a law would classify pedestrians and cyclists as vulnerable participants in traffic and create a real penalty when careless driving by a motorist contributes to serious injury or death of the vulnerable user.
Infrastructure
This year, the Bicycle Coalition has led the effort to encourage the MaineDOT to adopt a Complete Streets policy.  A Complete Streets policy ensures that every time transportation dollars are spent, all users’ safety and needs are factored into the planning, design, construction and maintenance of the street.
While our work with the MaineDOT is ongoing, unfortunately the current source of funding—dedicated federal dollars—is shrinking and has created a backlog of unfunded projects all over Maine.  We have convened a committee to identify and develop a sustainable source of funding for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure in Maine.  In the coming year we plan to convene a task force of leaders from all over the state to expand the conversation on this topic and identify and implement a new funding source.  We need your help to keep this work on track.
Culture 
The bicycling movement is continuing to gain traction but we are at a cultural crossroads and the result is often polarizing—an “us” against “them” scenario.  This approach is not only counterproductive, but further hampers our ability to creative a positive and inclusive culture on the road.  The Coalition will continue to host events like The Great Maine Bike Swaps (providing affordable bikes to all Mainers) and our rides—Women’s Ride, Lobster Ride, BikeMaine—that celebrate and promote all types of biking in Maine, but we have more work to do in the coming year.
Our most powerful tool in the struggle to adopt a positive bicycle culture is the Coalition’s Community Spokes advocacy program.  We have now trained almost 70 “Spokes” in 40 communities, and we’re primed to leverage our Spokes’ ability to create more bike/ped-friendly communities around the state.  We need your help to support to these champions as they transform their communities.
The Bicycle Coalition of Maine is working hard every day for safe cycling for you and your family.  At this time, please consider a special, tax-deductible year-end gift that will help ensure that we can continue to make Maine better for bicycling.
 
Click here to give to the Annual Fund now.

BCM SCHOLARSHIP AVAILABLE AGAIN FOR THE 4TH ANNUAL NATIONAL YOUTH BIKE SUMMIT!

By | Coalition News

 

Let your bicycle-loving high school and college friends know that New York City is the place to be from February 14-16, 2014 for the 4th Annual National Youth Bike Summit.  Again this year, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine is offering a scholarship to help ensure that youth voices from Maine are present and accounted for. Apply now for the scholarship!

The scholarship the Bicycle Coalition of Maine is offering is for either: 

  • One high school student and one parent/adult chaperone to attend the Summit (total of $575), or 
  • Two college students to attend (total of $575).

The deadline for this application has been extended to Friday, January 31.  If you’re interested in the Youth Bike Summit 2014 scholarship, please apply now for the scholarship!

Read More

Public Comment: Falmouth Route 1 Plan

By | Our Position, Speak up for Biking
Nathan A. Poore, Town Manager
Town of Falmouth
271 Falmouth Road
Nathan:
On behalf of the Bicycle Coalition of Maine, we’d like to thank you for meeting with members of our staff on Thursday, November 7th to discuss Falmouth’s plans for Route 1 between Route 88 and Bucknam Road. As Route 1 is one of the most important transportation corridors in the state, and as the segment in Falmouth you’re working on sees a large amount of bicycle commuter and tourist traffic, your actions will not only impact local riding conditions–it will set a precedent for how other communities develop and maintain the Route 1 corridor. As such an important corridor, Route 1 should always be developed and maintained according to Complete Streets principles.
After reviewing the plans and speaking with you, we wanted to put in writing our initial impressions and recommendations. It is our hope that you will share these with the Council, the designers, and the public before going out to bid. We will also be sharing this letter with the MaineDOT and PACTS.
Initial Impressions:

  1. The Coalition feels that many elements of the plan will help make this segment of Route 1 feel more “small town” and less strip-like. We think that the landscaping and the lighting changes will make this strip of roadway more attractive in general for all users.
  2. The inclusion of eight-foot multi-use paths (presumably with ADA compliant tip downs and state of the art crossing signals) will help encourage pedestrian traffic. While there is good reason to question the wisdom of encouraging bicyclists to use sidepaths (such facilities have high crash rates, and the ones proposed in Falmouth have multiple intersections to negotiate) these wide paths may also provide travel conduits for inexperienced and young bicyclists.
  3. This project will have no appreciable impacts on improving the bikeability or the bicycle safety of this busy stretch of roadway. The proposed plan makes no significant changes to the current on-road conditions, and appears to simply maintain the existing and unsatisfactory shoulder conditions (which vary from about four feet to nothing).
  4. The Bicycle Coalition of Maine is frankly disappointed that the plan authorizes approximately $6 million to bury the utilities, but fails to include approximately $2 million to improve the drainage and widen the road enough to provide for the AASHTO minimum standard 5 foot bike lanes next to the curb throughout the corridor. Cost appears to have been the driving consideration to reject the creation of bike lanes, but funds apparently are available for burying utilities?
We feel that the question of cost is not in this case a valid criterion for saying that safe bicycle accommodation is not feasible. The decision to bury utilities rather than provide for excellent bicycle accommodation is, in our view, one that prioritizes aesthetics ahead of safety.
In light of these impressions, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine offers the following Recommendations:

  1. Falmouth should reopen the conversation to widen Route 1, and should pursue revisions in the plan that would permit consistent five-foot bicycle lanes designed as per AASHTO national and PACTS regional standards throughout the project corridor. We are hopeful that you will reconsider prioritizing bicycle safety ahead of underground utilities. This is a critical transportation corridor in the region, and it should provide at a minimum the standard bike lane facilities that many lesser roads provide.
  2. In the event that the roadway is not widened to permit bike lanes, a minimum four-foot shoulder should be maintained throughout this corridor to provide a safer place for bicyclists to ride in this area. This shoulder should not be stenciled as a “bike lane”, as a four-foot shoulder next to a curb does not comply with AASHTO design recommendations for a bike lane in such locations. Attaining this minimum four-foot shoulder will probably require repurposing some of the space in the currently designed travel lanes.
  3. If a four-foot shoulder cannot be maintained through the corridor, the plan should consider Shared Lane Markings and Bicycles May Use Full Lane throughout the corridor to alert drivers that bicyclists could be in the travel lanes.
  1. To improve the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists,the radii of all intersections should be as short as possible to force cars to slow down as they leave/enter Route 1. It also shortens the crossing distances for users of the multi-use paths. If the Town reopens the discussion of widening the roadway, changing the turn radii could be addressed as part of that project.
  2. Any drainage structures which are in the shoulder should be installed at grade, and include wheel safe grates.
  3. Traffic signals should include bicycle detection devices and appropriate signage.

The Coalition appreciates your willingness to consider our input on this project at this late juncture. In general, we feel that this plan could have done more to make this critical transportation corridor a more complete street that takes into account the needs of all the users of the roadway. We are happy to take part in any conversation about improving the walkability and bikeability of your town, our region, and the whole state.
Thanks for your time and consideration, Regards,
Nancy Grant, Executive Director
James C. Tassé, Ph.D, Education Director Jennifer W. Ladd, Board Member

 

BikeMaine Ride Generates $235,000 for Maine Communities

By | BikeMaine, Coalition News, Featured Posts

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Brian Allenby
Communication Director
Bicycle Coalition of Maine
207.252.8688

Inaugural BikeMaine Ride Makes Economic Impact

An estimated $235,000 spent in Maine communities


Portland, Maine. November 8, 2013 – Maine’s first seven-day mass bicycle ride contributed an estimated $235,000 of direct economic benefits to the communities along its route. The inaugural BikeMaine ride, produced by the Bicycle Coalition of Maine, attracted 251 bicycle riders from thirty-seven states and three Canadian Provinces. Cyclists pedaled 400 miles from September 8-14th and visited the communities of Orono, Dover-Foxcroft, Belfast, Castine, Bar Harbor (two nights) and Camp Jordan (Ellsworth) before returning to finish in Orono. Read More

How I almost Doored A Cyclist

By | Coalition News
This story was submitted by cyclist and Coalition member Pierre Avignon.
 
Tonight, I was parked across from King Middle School a little after 7pm, waiting to pick up my daughter and her friends from an activity. I come early so I can listen to the awesome chorus they are preparing for Christmas. 
 
For the first time in my life I almost doored a cyclist and I am guessing the outcome would not have been good for the young guy who flew by me at a good speed, entirely dressed in black (or dark colored clothing) and no lights on. This cyclist was lucky to the fact that the motorist (aka me) knew what kind of danger a bike lane in the door zone represents, lucky to have passed by a motorist who knows how and what to check for, who not only uses his rear view mirror but looks behind as he opens his door. That’s when the dark flying rider appeared out of nowhere. I instantly pulled the door back and sat straight and still in my seat with the thought of the worst nightmare, his and mine. Read More

Regional Street Plans Visits

By | Coalition News

The Bicycle Coalition of Maine is working with PACTS and five towns north of Portland to convene a regional bike/ped/trail connectivity planning process, starting in November.  This process, facilitated by bike/ped advocate and planner Mike Lyden of the Street Plans Collaborative (www.streetplans.org) will focus on ways to improve the bicycle and pedestrian connectivity between the towns of Falmouth, Cumberland, North Yarmouth, Yarmouth and Freeport.   While much of the conversation will focus on improvements in the roadway corridors, the planning process will also spend some time considering offroad trail connections as well. 

Read More