Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Reasons to go by bike

Supervisor Cook has received many emails from area cyclists concerned about his statement that "a bicycle is not a transportation device." Several of those emails were also sent to FABB. They all made a good case for why bicycling is a basic, important, low-cost form of transportation. We especially liked the letter from Phillip Troutman, Assistant Professor of Writing at George Washington University.

In this extract from Phillip's letter he outlines many of the reasons why biking is one of the best forms of transportation available:
In light of recent comments you are reported to have made, wanted you to know that bicycles are a form of transport. I ride 15 miles each way to work three times a week, from Falls Church to Georgetown. This saves me roughly $7 in car/gas costs and saves the planet about 29 pounds (!) of carbon. It is also far more reliable in terms of time than driving. When I ride my bike, it takes me 45 minutes always, unless I have a flat, in which case it takes one hour. When I drive, it might take 45 minutes or maybe one hour, or maybe an hour and a half. When I take Metro and bus, it is a similar range of times.

I urge you to reconsider the importance of bike lanes and bike trail infrastructure—supported especially by Arlington and the District, and the NoVa Regional Parks (w/ the WO&D trail)—and help Fairfax continue incorporating bike infrastructure in its new projects (e.g., as it already is in Reston and in plans for Tysons). If you would like to know more about how easy it can be to ride to work, I would be glad to give you more information.
Phillip is putting his words into action by encouraging other people who commute to GWU to go by bike with his bike2gw blog and the bike2gw Facebook page to "provide maps, route details, trail/road condition updates, & local bike event information, & to promote bike-friendly policies at GW."

Phillip obtained the information about the impact of his bicycle commute on the REI Bike Your Drive webpage.

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

"Bicycle is not a transportation device"

That's according to Supervisor Cook (R-Braddock District), who at a recent Board of Supervisors Transportation Committee meeting said "I don't believe a bicycle is a transportation device. I think it's a recreation device. The big problem is people don't want to ride their bike in the rain or get sweaty before work."

Supervisor Cook needs to get out more. Every day people in Fairfax County use bicycles to get to work, shops, and to run errands. They use bikes to get to Metro, to libraries, and yes, some even ride to jobs at the Government Center. Some people don't want to ride in the rain but many do because they have few other options. You could ask some of the workers pictured above who are receiving free bike lights. They ride in the rain, snow, and darkness to get to jobs around the county.

According to a recent survey, nearly 40 percent of all trips made are 2 miles or less. With a good bicycle infrastructure, many of these trips could easily be taken by bike. Apparently Supervisor Cook doesn't think bicycling is a viable option for these trips.

Earlier Supervisor Herrity (R-Springfield District) stated that the county should eliminate the bicycle coordinator position. While we think these are minority opinions among the Board, which implemented the Comprehensive Bicycle Initiative in 2006, cyclists may need to gear up to fight for the bicycle coordinator position in the county budget which will be announced on Tuesday. I plan to attend that meeting (earlier in the meeting I'll be among a group of citizens receiving recognition for serving on the Tysons Task Force for nearly 5 years) and will report afterwards.

You can write to Supervisor Cook to let him know that you use bikes for transportation.

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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Bike rush hour in Portland

Streetfilms just posted a new film of cyclists riding during rush hour over the Hawthorne Bridge in Portland. The percentage of people who ride bikes for transportation in Portland is high and growing, leading to more awareness by motorists of cyclists on the road. While the number of cyclists has grown, the crash rate has decreased.

Found on BikePortland.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Bicycle Times

Dirt Rag Magazine, the well-respected off-road bike magazine, recently launched Bicycle Times, a magazine that "will focus on the pavement side of the bicycle experience—from commuting, to touring, to riding with family, to pedaling around for the heck of it."

The first issue includes an article on bike commuting essentials, reviews of commuter bikes, an advocacy column featuring Bike Portland blogger Jonathan Maus, and other good stuff. Looks like a good practical magazine for transportation cyclists. I was pleased to find a copy at the local Barnes & Noble bookstore.

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