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The Provo Bicycle Police (Now with Dramatic Explosions)

Did you know that Provo has its own bicycle patrol?

Not only can bike patrols help keep us safe in public spaces like the Provo River Trail, they’re also a great way for officers to better get to know the community and observe problems.

Plus, our officers have some pretty sweet moves…


According to the Provo Police Department’s Facebook page: “…We send them to a police bike school where they learn not to flinch when large explosions occur.”

Action Alert from the League of American Cyclists: Support the Bicycle & Pedestrian Safety Act

Here’s an important alert from our friends at the League of American Cyclists. You can make a difference by sending an auto email to Representative Chaffetz and Senators Hatch and Lee (feel free to add in some of your own experiences with un-safe streets too, if you feel so inclined). Remember, taking action at the national level can ultimately have a big impact on how new streets are designed in Provo:

Joy Covey helped catapult Amazon.com from a small company to the global powerhouse it is today. Earlier this year, on a bicycle ride in San Mateo County, Calif., she was struck by a delivery van and killed. She was 50 years old.

Joy is one of hundreds of men and women killed while bicycling or walking on our streets each year.

This has to change — and a one-sentence bill in Congress could do it. 

Please contact your members of Congress today to ask them to co-sponsor H.R. 3494 / S. 1708, which requires the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) and state DOTs to account for and work to reduce bicyclist and pedestrian deaths.  Take Action Here.

Last week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) confirmed that biking and walking fatalities have continued to increase – now representing 16.3 percent of all traffic deaths and a total of 5,469 people killed.

Last year, Congress mandated the US DOT to set performance goals, including safety goals. We believe that those goals should include a plan to make biking safer. However, the US DOT has refused to set a safety goal for non-motorized transportation.

Congress doesn’t agree: Members of the House and Senate, from both sides of the aisle, have introduced identical bills specifically requiring US DOT to set a goal to reduce the deaths of those biking and walking.

The Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Act states clearly that the lives of all roadway users are important — and creates accountability toward ending needless deaths.

It gives US DOT the flexibility to determine the best method to meet these safety measures, and calls on our leaders to reduce the number of people biking and walking who are killed or injured on our streets every year.            

It’s time that we all stand together to say that the deaths of bicyclists and pedestrians deserve to be counted and prevented, too. Please help us build the momentum for this important legislation by contacting your members of Congress to ask them to co-sponsor these bipartisan bills.

Without it, people who bike and walk, like Joy, will remain in the blindspot of our transportation system.

Join this effort, and tell your lawmakers to vote for these straightforward, bi-partisan bills. Take action. 

Thank you for your support!

Council “Acknowledges Acceptance” of Bicycle Master Plan, Formal Adoption Delayed

Thank you to everyone who contacted the council, showed up at last night’s council meeting, and lent support for the adoption of the Bicycle Master Plan in other ways.

In the end, the council, though unanimously in favor of the plan, decided to issue a resolution acknowledging the acceptance of the plan but delaying formal adoption.

The rationale for doing so was based on procedural concerns. Although the plan was created with oversight from engineering, the administration, the council, UDOT, UTA, MAG, and other relevant parties, the plan has not yet been reviewed by the Planning Commission and the recently formed Transportation and Mobility Advisory Committee. The resolution gave these bodies a set time frame to complete this task, after which the council will vote on whether to adopt the plan within the next 90 days.

Our hope is that, since the plan has already been vetted by so many parties, it will move quickly through these committees and its integrity will remain intact.

We appreciate the support of the council. Thanks in part to the outpouring of support from many of you and the work of countless people, from public officials representing Provo city, UDOT, UTA, MAG, and other agencies to hundreds of private citizens who provided extensive public impact during the development of the plan over the last couple of years, there is a wide consensus that Provo needs to create an interconnected trail and lane infrastructure that will make our community safe for bicyclists of all ages to ride.

We are particularly appreciative of the support of the mayor, who last night during a proclamation declaring September 9-13 “Bike-to-School” Week in Provo, challenged the entire council to ride to work, as he has been doing several times a week this summer.

In short, yesterday represented a brief delay for the plan that we are confident will be adopted intact in a few months. Thanks again, and keep riding. We have a beautiful community in which to do so, and we can/will make it even better!

Deseret News: “Proposed Plans for Provo Bike Lanes Near Approval”

The Deseret News recently published an article reviewing our progress towards completing the Provo Master Bike Plan – plans and funding for an extensive set of interconnected bicycle lanes throughout the city.

“The city is likely to approve an extensive new series of bike lanes by as early as April.

The Provo Bicycle Committee has been considering its options for a Master Provo Bike Plan since December 2011, when it received a county grant for the project…

Transportation advocacy groups such as Bike Provo have asked for additional bike lanes for the past three years, saying the city needs to update what they consider to be outdated safety conditions for bicyclists.

‘There’s so much work left to be done, but I think the plan is a good groundwork,’ said Andrew Ungerman, a volunteer with Bike Provo.

Take a look at the full article here and keep watching BikeProvo for updates as we get closer to the finalization of the plan and the vote by the Provo City Council.

Vulnerable Road User

BicyclePaper recently put up an awesome article about vulnerable road user laws, and how they effect cyclists, as well as drivers. The article starts off with the all too common example of a driver hitting a cyclist, being at fault, and then getting off scott free. There are even instances of a driver hitting a cyclist, and killing them, where the driver is fined a minor traffic violation between $40-$100.

The article does a great job at looking into why this type of enforcement happens showing that there really is no precedent when it comes to car and bicycle accidents.

Prosecuting a driver is harder than many might think. To punish someone for the act of killing a cyclist, judges would have to sentence the motorist with vehicular homicide, a serious crime that requires proof of deliberate intent and can result in punishment of up to life imprisonment. This requirement also creates a difficult barrier for cases where drivers are careless. The step down from vehicular homicide or assault is reckless driving, which is what some drivers end up getting charged with for unsafely changing lanes, failing to yield, etc. However, if prosecutors do not think that they can find evidence of careless and negligent driving, there is little chance that they will move forward with the case.

Washington recently passed HB 1339 which reads;

The bill aims to protect pedestrians, cyclists, moped users, people riding horses, and others by penalizing motorists much more severely. Under the new law, fines could reach $5,000 and licenses would be suspended for 90 days. Alternatively, the driver could choose to perform up to 100 hours of community service in traffic safety or driver improvement, complete a state approved traffic safety course, and pay a $250 fine.

Laws like the one above are becoming more and more prevalent especially with studies being around which show that bicyclist are at fault less than 10% of the time in a bike on car collision.

So what do we have in Provo? Luckily we have the 3foot law which states;

 An operator of a motor vehicle may not knowingly, intentionally, or recklessly operate a motor vehicle within three feet of a moving bicycle, unless the operator of the motor vehicle operates the motor vehicle within a reasonable and safe distance of the bicycle.

While this is a giant step in the right direction it seems as though we could use more direct verbiage that set out to not only restrict an action but also to enforce that restriction. As a rider on the road what do you think?

 

Come to the Provo Parks & Rec Master Plan Meeting Tomorrow (6/20)

Want to see what the city has in store for parks and recreation? Find out about their new master plan in development and share your own ideas for bike friendly paths and parks.

Here are the details from the Provo city website:

In October 2011, the city began a nine-month process to develop a Parks and Recreation Master Plan using multiple forms of community input, including public meetings, focus groups and interviews, and a statistically-valid household survey.

On June 20, 2012, the city will host a second public meeting to go over the process of the project and community survey results. The public is invited to attend and participate by sharing ideas and priorities for parks and recreation in Provo.

Date: Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Location: Provo City Center Council Chambers
351 West Center Street
Provo, UT

Time: 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm

Spread The Word

Found this in our inbox this morning. We actually have a picture of this same message in flyer form from a post a few days ago. Details are sparse, but we thought we would pass on the word in case any of you or anyone you know has heard/seen anything. To clear up the statement a little bit the citations were being handed out that day for anyone going over 15mph in certain areas of the trail as you may remember from this recent post.

“On Sunday May 20, 2012 I witnessed users of the Provo River Trail being issued citations for no apparent reasons. I was shocked by one of the incidents in Nunn’s Park and tried to give my contact email to two female cyclists who were also concerned. Unfortunately I never received an email. I really want to get in touch with these good citizens, and/or any other alarmed observers. Please email vanman798@yahoo.com, or call 801.226.0952 (no text messages please). Thanks.”

 

2012 Road Respect Tour Kicks Off

The Road Respect Tour is up and riding for the second year in a row. “What is the Road Respect Tour,” you ask? The Tour is a joint effort between UDOT, Zero Fatalities, BikeUtah, a ton of sponsors, and drivers/riders around the state. The purpose of the Tour is to educate all road users on how to safety interact with each other. On their website they have a Ride With Respect/Drive With Respect section that outlines each road users rights, and obligations. For the last year they have been running ads, and billboards all over the state, and now they are out on their bikes spreading the good word in communities as far south as St. George, and as far north as Logan. Last year the Tour started up north and worked its way down. They even stopped in Provo, and were greeted by the Mayor as well as a bunch of riders who came out to show support (check our coverage here).

This year the Tour has started down south, which unfortunately has not saved them from the nasty wind we are experiencing right now. Here is a Facebook post from one of the riders;

Road Respect day #1 was a tough day from Beaver, Ut to St. George. We had 30 mph headwinds all day with gusts to 55. We were drafting the Mad Dog trailer at 10mph and struggling to stay with them. Wow! what a day. We head north tomorrow and hope the winds don’t change direction too soon. 

You know these riders are dedicated if they are riding in 55mph gusts. I also heard that one of the riders, who must be as strong as Lance Armstrong, snapped his rear derailleur off mid pedal stroke. All of this and they have only been out one day. Fortunately the derailleur was repaired, unfortunately the riders are still fighting the wind. Even in the wind they are working their way up north though and will be in Utah Valley soon enough. When are they coming to Provo you might ask? Sadly due to some miscommunication Provo will not get the Tour this year. However, Evelyn Tuddenham (who is the head of UDOT’s Bike and Ped Department), promised that the Tour would come visit Provo in the Fall sometime perhaps to ring in the new bicycle master plan which should be done by then.

Until then you can find a stop near by to go and see the riders as they roll through.  You can also make sure to be aware of the right way to ride wether you are behind the wheel or on them. Ride safe and make sure to spread the good word.

New App from BikeUtah

Ever been riding your bike and wondered if you could take the lane on a particular road, or if the car that just buzzed you could get in trouble for passing too closely? Well guess what there is an app for that. BikeUtah our state wide bicycle advocacy group has put together a great little app (iPhone and iPad for now), which ties you into all the cycling laws for Utah, different events happening around the state, as well as all of BikeUtah’s social/online communities.

I like the app for how simple it is, and how quickly you can access key information and social connections to riding around. It provides a great base for any rider to learn more and get more connected on the state level. It would be really neat to see the events section expand to all cycling events around the state, and to highlight events in the exact place that you find yourself. This could be done by a city selector, or by using the location service which the app already accesses. How awesome would it be to be in Moab and check out your handy BikeUtah app to connect with riders and rides there in Moab? I think it would be super awesome! Not only could we expand connections between cyclists in the state, but we could also get more people on the app more often which would keep more of us in the loop on national and state wide issues.

Overall this is a great app which I recommend everyone getting. You can download the app for free at the App Store.