Posted in Cycling, Columbus, slow bicycle movement, bicycling, Livable, Downtown Columbus, communities, Infrastructure, Downtown, Educate, Safety, Education, High St, Ride of Silence, Consider Biking | Tagged bicycling, bikes, cbus, commute, consider biking, cycling, Downtown Columbus, Education, Livable, Ride of Silence, safety, slow bicycle movement, women | Leave a Comment »
There’ve been previous updates on this but I just wanted to refresh y’all. I saw these bicycle signs pop up in German Village yesterday and I was thrilled.
More of these will continue to be installed along with the bike symbols on the ground to guide you on where to stop your bike at intersections. Once you place your bike ontop of the symbol on the ground, it acts as a detector to change the light. The city of Columbus’ Public Service Dept. plans to install both the signs and bicycle signals on the ground when you place a 311 request. This is why it is so important to utilize this easy service-request system (http://311.columbus.gov/). Our streets cannot get better unless we ALL are proactive in making them better. I recently placed three requests through 311 and one of them is already in progress.
People constantly ask me ‘where is the best and safest place to ride my bike?’ The honest answer is, is that there is no real answer but there are better practices than others. I tell people that if there are multiple travel lanes going in each direction, I always take the far right lane b/c there’s still another full lane(s) of travel. Now, what about a street like High St. There’s one travel lane, sometimes a dedicated left turn lane, and a far right lane that has buses, right turns, and now – parked cars. Engineers reinforce that this lane can be ‘shared’ and let’s face it, most drivers DO want us on the most far right lane as possible, so they can continue about their destination, not having to slow down. The fact is, is that that far right lane is 12ft wide (I counted) and clearly NOT enough for both a bike rider and an open car door to safely exist together. Take a look at the pics below:
Many car windows these days have tint to them leaving it as either a guessing game or a ‘Hail Mary’ for us bike riders riding in this lane. As you can clearly see, there’s a variety of width of these cars. I don’t care what people say, this is clearly not enough room. I’ve been door’d and I’m still intimidated at times.
We learn in drivers education to be ‘predictable’ when driving. Having drivers be able to anticipate your next move is both courteous and safe. You dont want a driver to abruptly turn right and not signal or a car to change lanes with out adequate space and time. The same goes with us on bikes. We want drivers, buses, and walkers to be able to anticipate our moves. Weaving in and out of lanes isn’t predictable. I would rather anger the driver behind me b/c I’m slow and predictable than create this bike rodeo of weaving in and out of lanes and parked cars. I know it’s engrained in us (slower traffic stays right) but when it comes to safety, drivers are just going to have to deal. I hope these images help along with my quasi-clear explanation. Again, its really difficult to answer b/c there are so many different levels of confidence when riding however, I hope these images give you a better idea of why its always not in the best interest to appease the cars behind you and for you to maintain the lane until the far right lane frees up for you to move into.
Be safe and keep riding.
Posted in Cycling, women, slow bicycle movement, Downtown Columbus, German Village, Infrastructure, Connect the Core, Downtown, crash, Educate, Safety, Education, Bicycle detectors, High St | Tagged cycling, cbus, bikes, chic, safety, women, commute, slow bicycle movement, bicycling, Livable, Downtown Columbus, Education, predictable riding, high st | Leave a Comment »
The first round of ‘Girls in Gear’ was a complete smashing success. The girls went through eight weeks learning: Bicycle safety, bicycle mechanics, community urban design, and public speaking. Consider Biking was recently approached by the local CSA Green Bean Delivery and they LOVE ‘Girls in Gear.’ Green Bean Delivery is now added into the ‘Girls in Gear’ curriculum and will teach girls about nutritional education as well as bringing in varieties of fruits/vegtables on a weekly basis.
The girls met the Mayor and presented and spoke to him about two specific un-friendly streets which surrounds their schools. These streets lack sidewalks or they’re cracked. The streets are littered and there’s lack of lighting. The two streets also do not create any form of inviting of another mode of transportation like walking or biking.
The girls brought in their 2ft x 3ft poster of the types of elements they would like to see on these two streets. These elements would make them feel more comfortable to walk / bike / play outside.
They did AMAZING! My next round of ‘Girls in Gear’ will be held at the Gladden Community House so stay tuned for more amazing pictures of young girls being empowered!
Posted in Cycling | 4 Comments »
I’ve been sexually harassed, I’ve had a water bottle thrown at me, I’ve been driven off the road, I’ve been hit, I’ve been door’d, I’ve been cut off and this past weekend, I can add that my life was threatened-verbally. I was riding east on Gay St. with a friend. Gay St. is a two-way street; one travel lane in each direction and I maintained my lane. A pick-up truck behind me was revving his engine; speeding up and slowing down to get my attention and probably to get me to move to the right but I had no intention b/c I had every right to maintain the lane. At the red light, he sped up beside me, proceeded to spit on me and said I should ‘share the fucking road.’ I said, ‘how do I do that, I am legally allowed to take this ONLY lane?!’ He continued to be antagonistic, wanting me to ‘hit’ him. I said, ‘I’m not going to hit you.’ He said, ‘I’ll end your life, you white bitch.’
A few more words were exchanged, the light turned green and since he was finally ahead of me, he was able to again maintain his driving cadence of 25 mph as oppose to my 15 mph.
I got home and couldn’t shake this particular instance. I’ve had ppl intimidate me with their cars and I’ve never had anyone verbally threaten that they’d end my life.’ I rang a friend of mine who really helped me put this situation into perspective. I could have handled the situation differently and I was beating myself up for it. But, my friend told me that that person was my teacher – teaching me how I can improve myself the next time b/c there WILL, inevitably be a next time. Thank you, JLa.
I’ve written a ‘Will’ in case I die and its b/c I ride a bike. How many drivers have written a ‘Will’ b/c they drive a car? I bet I could gamble and say ‘not a whole lot.’ I constantly think and obsess over WHY, we are in such hurries that when we are slowed down, it infuriates us. Why, as drivers, when we are slowed down, we have such anger and violence within us that we want to kill, intimidate, drive off the road, spit and harass. How did we become so disconnected with each other and we don’t see the ‘human being’ component.
I am a daughter, a twin sister, an aunt, a cousin, a best friend, a human being. When did we as human beings become so transparent that our destinations became more important than the safety of human life? You’re wanting to END MY LIFE b/c I slowed you down for less than two minutes? Let’s take a moment and really digest that sentence b/c that’s what I deal with on a regular basis.
Why is it drivers have more patience for school buses or public transportation buses when they make frequent stops yet they are ready to cut off and /or harass a person on a bicycle? What is the difference? The operator in any of these mode of transport is still a human being so why the fortitude with one and not the other?
Our streets began with people owning the streets – not cars. Now, driving has become such a part of our DNA that this sense of entitlement and ownership has taken over our streets and our neighborhoods to where people will kill over it.
I’m willing to die in order to change this mentality. I have been brought up to be a leader, not a follower. Streets are suppose to be mini theaters- acting out life experiences and this can’t happen when cars control streets. Families should want to take their kids on walks after dinner. Families should want to sit on their front porch or stoop and talk to neighbors about how ridiculous ‘Honey Boo-Boo’ really is. Nobody wants to do this when their front yards are three lanes wide and cars speeding at 40 mph.
I look forward to the day when we realize that some congestion isn’t always a bad thing and that life WILL NOT END if you have to slow down. I look forward to the day when more people see change as a good thing and not fear it and react recklessly.
Posted in 2 Wheels & Heels, beauty, bicycling, Columbus, communities, Connect the Core, crash, Cycling, Downtown, Downtown Columbus, Educate, Education, Infrastructure, Livable, Pedestrians, public spaces, road diet, Safety, slow bicycle movement, urban design, Vibrant, women | Tagged bicycling, cbus, chic, commute, cycling, Downtown Columbus, Education, female celebrities, feminine, Livable, safety, slow bicycle movement, Tweed Ride Columbus, women | 4 Comments »
This past week, my program Girls in Gear moved into Urban Design, something I am very passionate about. Opening up people’s eyes at how our streets have been designed and how they can be so much more.
These girls, like the majority of our citizens have only viewed streets for one purpose – to get cars from point A to point B. Next time you take a walk, be conscious of if you even have sidewalks to walk on. So many of our neighborhoods especially the lower income neighborhoods, sidewalks have been eradicated to make more room for travel lanes.
Opening up these girls eyes and minds showing them how much more a street can be is critical. They should know that they deserve simple infrastructure such as a sidewalk when walking to school. They shouldn’t be ‘immune’ to gun-shells and used syringes in their playgrounds. The design of a neighborhood creates the tone in how a community will use that neighborhood. If you’re neighborhood is destroyed by four lane wide streets with cars moving at 4o mph, chances are there will be very little social interactions and enjoyment on these streets.
Aside from the aesthetics of a street, the people behind the scenes creating these streets are predominantly men. I want these girls to know and believe that if they want to become planners, architects, or engineers when they grow up, they have just as good of a chance as men. Have you ever stepped outside your house and taken a walk or a bike ride and stopped to collect the way that you ‘feel’ on a particular street? Do you feel safe? Intimidated? Is the street pleasant to be on? Is it soft with textures of trees, lights, benches, few travel lanes,gardens, etc. or is cold and isolated with a slab of concrete serving one purpose – to get you to your destination?
The majority of our streets have been designed by men. Imagine what our streets would look and feel like if the majority of them were designed by women? The majority of our streets built today are not women and children friendly in my opinion. This is one of the reasons I’m introducing Urban Design to these young girls. When a street is designed with women and children in mind, everyone will feel safer experiencing that street.
Enjoy the pics.
Be safe and keep riding.
Took the girls on a walk audit to score two streets.
Group discussion as we wait to cross the street.
The girls discussing what they saw and felt on the two streets we scored.
Abby Downs discussing streets more than just places for cars.
The girls beginning their designs of their ideal bikeable / walkable streets.
Posted in Artistic, beauty, bicycling, Columbus, Educate, Education, girls in gear, girls-specific program, Hilltop, Hilltop YMCA, Infrastructure, Livable, Pedestrians, public spaces, Safe Routes to School, Safety, slow bicycle movement, urban design, Vibrant, women, youth empowerment | Tagged bikes, cbus, chic, columbus, cycling, girls in gear, Hilltop, Livable, urban design, walking, women | Leave a Comment »