Archive for the “Commuting” Category

Dressed all in black, biking down your street the wrong way in the middle of the BikeNinjaPosterLandscape copynight, giving no sign of their existence save for the squeak of a rusty chain: the bike ninja is a fearsome adversary indeed. They’re rarely seen until they’re right in front of you, requiring a sudden swerve out of the way and perhaps a fist shaken in their general direction. Riding a bicycle at night without adequate lighting is unsafe and against the law in most states, but many cyclists do it anyways, either because they’re not aware of the dangers or they don’t want to deal with the inconvenience of buying and maintaining bike lights.

Here at the Tempe Bicycle Action Group, one of our recurring events it the Bike Lights for Ninjas ride: volunteers stake out a handful of streets and intersections where bike ninjas are known to travel and hand out bike lights, for free, to anyone on a bicycle who needs one. It’s a cheap and easy way to reach out to a segment of the cycling community you don’t usually see on organized rides or major events, and it helps reduce the risk of cyclist injuries or fatalities in your town. So how do you go about doing an event like this?

 

Buy Cheap (but Good) Lights

There’s numerous online stores with a focus on delivering bulk consumer goods, tadpole bike lightand bike lights can be found on many of them. Check out dx.com, dhgate.com, dollardays.com, and globalsources.com for a few examples, or do a search for bulk bike lights or wholesale bike lights. Look for lights that come with batteries included, so you don’t have to buy batteries separately and pack them by hand. Lights with simple attachment mechanisms are best – the “tadpole” light design with a wrap-around silicone loop seems to work really well, whereas designs using velcro straps or screw-together mounting brackets are much harder to install. Go for light sets of one white and one red light – some light suppliers sell red and blue light sets, but these are definitely not street legal in th
e US! Finally, avoid the really weak lights with low power LEDs – they may be cheap but they don’t provide enough illumination. We’re usually able to find lights for less than $4 per set, and will buy 50-100 lights at a time.

 

Get Some Volunteers

Talk to your friends, network at social rides, start a Facebook page, ping your mailing list – whatever it takes to get a handful of volunteers willing to hunt down bike ninjas and give them free stuff! The best way to entice people to help is by making the event fun – bribe them with free pizza after the ride, get a portable speaker and some music playing, hand out costumes. Sparkly lights and fairy wings are a good choice; ninjas have a known weakness to fairies.

 

Pick a Date, Time, and Location

Here in Tempe, there are a number of key streets and intersections that have high ridership, mostly around the ASU campus. We like to stake out Mill Avenue, University Drive, and Apache Boulevard is prime ninja-hunting streets. Where you set up depends on where you see bike ninjas most frequently. Is there a university nearby with student housing concentrated off-campus? Do some streets concentrate cyclists due to the presence of bike lanes, protected lanes, or other bike-friendly features? Think about what time of day has the highest traffic and what the light conditions are like. Once you’re actively looking for them, bike ninjas are easy to spot after dusk but hard to identify between sundown and proper night – is that rider a ninja, or do they have lights and are waiting to turn them on?

 

Hand Out some Lights! (but Be Nice About It)

When the big night arrives, get ready to chase people down and give them lights! Bring a backpack or panniers to carry your lights around. Watch for vehicular traffic while you’re out – you’re going to be making a lot of U-turns and stops, so be extra conspicuous with your signaling. When you catch up to a bike ninja, be nice to them! Tell them you saw them riding without lights and you’d like to give them a free set, no strings attached. If they accept, that’s great! Congratulate yourself on defeating a bike ninja. If they decline, that’s okay too. Don’t push the issue or harass them, just let them go on their way.

One issue in particular to keep in mind: think about what your reaction would be if you were biking along, at night, and a stranger suddenly appeared and offered you free stuff. You’d probably feel suspicious and possibly a little nervous. Maybe this weird bike person is trying to mug or assault you. This is a normal reaction for people to have, so try your best to be as non-threatening as possible. Stick to areas that are highly trafficked and well-lit, and don’t pursue people who aren’t interested.

 

You Saved Your Town From the Bike Ninjas! Now Go Party!

Eat that pizza you used to bribe your volunteers, have something nice to drink, and congratulate yourself on a job well done. Plan your next bike lights for ninjas ride, and get those volunteers signed up for it.

Comments 2 Comments »

BikeActivistLet your opinions shape your community for years to come – voice your opinions in the City of Tempe Transportation Master Plan. This is an opportunity for cyclists of Tempe to tell the city what we need by way of bicycle friendly infrastructure.

http://www.tempe.gov/city-hall/public-works/transportation/transportation-master-plan-/transportation-master-plan-survey

This survey will be used for the Tempe Transportation Master Plan for the next 10 years. The city is asking for specific street names where residents would like to have bike lanes, protected bike lanes, bike boulevards and paths. They are also asking for lists of gaps in the current bike system. You have until June 15 to let your voice be heard!

Take the survey today http://www.tempe.gov/city-hall/public-works/transportation/transportation-master-plan-/transportation-master-plan-survey

There are also public meetings on May 29th and 31st, please attend and give your feedback: http://www.tempe.gov/city-hall/public-works/transportation/transportation-master-plan-

 Need some inspiration? TBAG has been advocating for the following changes in the Tempe bike system:

  1. A north-south bike route along the railroad tracks east of McClintock.
  2. Bike lanes on McClintock
  3. Bike lanes on Southern
  4. Bike lanes on Broadway
  5. Bike boulevards on the major bike routes such as College, Hardy, and Alameda
  6. A bike path along the railroad tracks from Tempe Town Lake to Kiwanis Park
  7. A bridge over the 1-10 at Alameda
  8. A bridge over the 101 at Alameda

 

 

Comments 1 Comment »

tbag2lessintenseFINAL

Thanks to a grant from the Not One More Foundation, the billboard has been renewed for two more months with new a campaign inspired by Pittsburgh’s I Ride A Bike campaign.

Kolby Granville, Tempe City Councilmember and bicycle advocate, kicks off the series. We’re working to book other well known public figures with a goal of doing a series of three people over two months. We also hope to refine the presentation as we go.

The campaign is designed to humanize cyclists. Motorists should be aware that people on bicycles are, like anyone else, pillars of community, members of families, workers, auto owners, and so on, just like anyone else. We hope that some empathy encourages people to take care and save a life.

Comments No Comments »

bike-laneTempe is giving you another chance to tell them you want to keep seeing bikes on the streets.

Grab your friends and head to the Tempe General Plan Citizen’s Workshop Wednesday April 24 from 6-7 p.m. at the Tempe Library on Southern and Rural.

This working group needs community input – so be sure to drop by and tell them that the city of Tempe needs to continue funding bike infrastructure to support you, me and all the other two-wheeled gearheads out there!

Love bikes and want to join, but not sure what to talk about? Here are some starting points:

  • Complete Tempe’s streets
  • Expanding the bike network – both dedicated lanes and bike-friendly streets
  • Create more bike boulevard systems

Join in and let your friends know you’re going to be there at the TBAG Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/570553759643281/#

 

Comments No Comments »

The 3rd annual Tempe Bike Count takes place in just three weeks, on March 26-28.  Training meetings are in just two weeks.  Each of 50 intersections has an AM shift and a PM shift.  76 of those 100 shifts are still available.  You can sign up for just one 2 hour shift, or more shifts on more days if you want.

If you think you can make it, please sign up now to reserve your intersection, and so that I know that we’re going to have enough people, but do let me (scrottie@biketempe.org) know if you have to cancel or switch days.

RSVPs for training dates are used to figure out how much pizza to order.  Local comedian Tim Tagtmeyer will introduce the Bike Count and all of the ways to get confused that you never even thought of.

When:

The count will take place over three days. Each volunteer counts during commuting hours, with morning (7:00am to 9:00am) or afternoon (4:00pm to 6:00pm) shifts (or both).

  • Tuesday, March 26th
  • Wednesday, March 27th
  • Thursday, March 28th

For full details on the Tempe Bike Count and to sign up please go to: http://www.biketempe.org/events/bike-count/

Why:

Traffic Engineering responds well to serious safety problems.  People ride bikes even where safe infrastructure doesn’t exist.  Often, the only way through is on roads like Southern, McClintock, or Rural, where bicycles were not taken into consideration.  The Bike Count lets us show the city where cyclists overwhelmingly feel they have to ride on the sidewalk, something that the city knows is not safe.  It also shows the City of Tempe how many bicycles do come out where safe facilities do exist, which helps them with their goals of smug reduction and congestion reduction.  The raw data has been requested by environmental engineering firms, traffic engineering grad students, and others.  The Bike Count is a fantastic way to encourage making Tempe bicycle friendly, and to quantify progress.  It helps the city help us!

Afterparty:

We’re throwing an appreciation party at Boulders on Broadway for our volunteers!  Come turn in your count sheets, have a beer, and tell tales of the craziness you saw out there on the streets of Tempe.

Comments No Comments »

BikeActivist

UPDATED: email your city council

Support proposed local bike infrastructure such as green bike lanes and traffic slowing medians by emailing the Tempe City Council at councilcommunicator@tempe.gov

Businesses hoping to dissuade the council from going forward with some of these changes have been meeting with your city leaders. Make sure their voices aren’t the only ones heard.

Online public comment on the city’s forum has closed, but you still have time to contact your city leaders directly by emailing councilcommunicator@tempe.gov.

Want to post your support but don’t know what to say? Here’s a few lines you can simply copy and paste;

  • Thank you for adding green bike lanes to Tempe, they are greatly needed!

  • Please continue to go forward with all median plans. They will help keep traffic from colliding with cyclists on the roadways.

  • Please install a stoplight at Roosevelt and Farmer, this will help cars, bikes and pedestrians safely cross, rather than forcing us to play frogger in traffic.

(From previous TBAG post)

The city of Tempe is introducing plans that help you and your fellow two-wheeled friends to more easily and safely commute through Tempe. These plans could have a great impact not only on the safety of the roadways, but also in the beautification of our city… that is, if the city continues to hear from YOU!

Bike lane modifications, medians and other proposed changes are being fought by some who may not understand what it’s like to cycle in traffic with little to no bike infrastructure. Don’t let the proposed plans fall by the wayside. Join in on meetings, email your city leaders and let Tempe know that the growing bike community demands safer, bike-friendly streets.

Thanks to those of you who joined the University/Hardy Drive Screetscape Project open house, the Broadway Road Screetscape meeting and every one who has been submitting comments and statements on behalf of bike Tempe cyclists.

Be seen. Be heard. Be a bike champion in Tempe!

Comments 1 Comment »

The city of Tempe is holding an open house to talk with residents, neighbors and businesses about two adjacent projects to improve pedestrian, bicycle and transit facilities and enhance the streetscape on Hardy Drive between University Drive and Broadway Road and University Drive between Ash Avenue and Priest Drive.

Let’s show up to represent local cyclists!

The open house will be held Feb. 20, 2013 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Gililland Middle School, 1025 S. Beck Ave.

Click here to learn more about the University Drive project and here to see current design proposals and for a form to enter your comments.

Click here to learn about the Hardy Drive project and click here to see current design proposals and for a form to enter your comments.

Comments No Comments »

 

TBAG will host the third annual Tempe Bike Count between March 26-28 2013. We need volunteers to help count bikes! You can sign up for just one shift on a single day, or more if you want. Sign up! Bring a friend!

Our goals for the bike count:

  • Document the number of people currently cycling and monitor how the number changes over time
  • Publish a report of findings from the bike count
  • Use the information to help prioritize infrastructure improvements and traffic safety
  • Share bike count data with the public, other organizations, governmental groups, and individuals

When:

The count will take place over three days. Each volunteer will count during commuting hours, one morning (7:00am to 9:00am) or one afternoon (4:00pm to 6:00pm). The same location can be covered over the span of the three days.

  • Tuesday, March 26th
  • Wednesday, March 27th
  • Thursday, March 28th

Training:
Volunteers are asked to attend one of the training meetings at the Tempe Transit Center 200 E. Fifth Street (near Forest and College avenues near the light rail station) in the Cassano Room on the second floor.

  • Wednesday, March 20th
  • Saturday, March 23rd

For full details on the Tempe Bike Count and to sign up please go to: http://www.biketempe.org/events/bike-count/

Afterparty:

We’re throwing an appreciation party at Boulders on Broadway for our volunteers!  Come turn in your count sheets, have a beer, and tell tales of the craziness you saw out there on the streets of Tempe.

Comments No Comments »

In April 2012, the second annual city-wide bike count in Tempe was conducted as a way of understanding cycling habits and to identify routes and intersections that are problematic or dangerous.  In total, 6,563 bicyclists were counted from a total of 28 different locations, with 26 locations common between 2011 and 2012.

Get the report here [pdf]: Tempe_Bike_Count_Report_2012

Comments No Comments »

Hey Tempe Cyclists!! Tired of complaining about the unsafe riding conditions, bike lanes which seem to end for no reason, non-existent bike crossing signals, etc. etc. Quit complaining and help us do something about it. 2013 is going to be a busy year for TBAG advocates. There are major street re-design projects for us to monitor and influence, including the Mill Ave Streetcar, University Drive, Hardy Drive and Broadway Road. We also need to follow the update processes for the Transportation Master Plan and the General Plan. And we have our normal monthly committee meetings to attend.

Bring your ideas and your calendar and get ready to sign up to help!! See you at our 2013 kick-off TBAG Advocacy Meeting – Sunday January 6th 7pm at Boulders on Broadway.

Comments No Comments »