Category Archives: News

Video: South Willamette

I shot some video with my helmet camera riding North Bound on South Willamette, between 24th and 29th. The city is working on plans for South Willamette that are hopefully going to include good facilities for bicycles, pedestrians, and motor vehicles. To read more about the city’s plans, here is more information.

Video was taken going North Bound on the roadway on January 11, 2012 around 3:40pm.

You can see/hear how bad the roads are right now, and that there is no place for cyclists to safely ride. I live right off of this street and find this road very uninviting in its current conditions to both pedestrians and cyclists. When walking on the sidewalks, there are frequent driveways going out into the street, and if you (or a driver) aren’t paying attention you could easily be hit by someone pulling in, or exiting any of these driveways. Angel and I feel like we are cut off behind this road with no side streets that can truly get us anywhere necessary. The road is too narrow to allow for 4 full lanes of cars and bicyWillamett St from 24th to 29thclists to ride safely alongside. You can see in the video 2 cars squeeze by me, the second aggressively honking, then squeezing between me and another car quickly only to stop a couple of yards ahead at an intersection. I am an experienced cyclist, and used to conditions like this, but would not recommend for other cyclists to ride on this street in this condition. I myself don’t enjoy riding on this street and avoid it whenever possible. Hopefully the new plans will address some of these problems, making it safer for all to use.

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New Bike & Cellphone Laws on the Books

New Bike Stop Lights at 18th and AllderSome new traffic laws have come into effect here in Oregon pertaining to both cyclists and car drivers. The law were put into effect on 1-1-2012.

As mentioned in Eugene’s First Bike Only Traffic Signal, Senate Bill 130 has now taken effect. The main thing is that the bill adds  bike only traffic signal to Oregon’s list of traffic control devices that can be used. It also defines that bicycles must follow all traffic signals just like all other road vehicle. Most in Eugene might already realize we have these signals placed in on the Alder St. cycle track. Portland also has a couple of these signals around the city.

Here’s a biggy, House Bill 3186 amends ORS 811.507 which allowed cell phones to be used if “A person operating a motor vehicle in the scope of the person’s employment if operation of the motor vehicle is necessary for the person’s job“. With no way of knowing whether drivers were using their phone for work, there was basically no enforcement of the law. Anyone could use their phone if they just claimed it was for “work”. With HB3186 it removes this loophole, No drivers will be able to use a cellphone (with the exception of emergency vehicle drivers), and there is absolutely no texting by any drivers at all. Drivers can still use hands free devices while driving, but putting the phone on speakerphone doesn’t count.

These are 2 great laws that have taken effect, keeping all of the users of the roads safe for cars, bikes, and pedestrians.

For more about these and more about other traffic laws in effect read it here on Oregon Live.

Review: New Bike Maps App for iPhone

Bike Maps A new app has been released recently to help with navigation on your bike if you own an iPhone. Bike Maps – Bicycle Directions for Commuting and Touring by Burning Robot is the new app offering turn by turn directions for bikes.

This is a review for Bike Maps Version 1.o.1 (12-13-11), I will try and do updated reviews if and when the newer versions are available.

Features
• Turn by turn directions
• Search by keyword or address
• Get bike directions from your current location
• Prioritizes bike paths and lanes
• Avoids busy streets

I downloaded this app for $1.99 to try it out myself. The app uses the power of Google Map’s Bike Route feature. Over all this app is very clean, and works fast over 3G cell service, but might be lacking some features some people might like. Some of what it is lacking is due to some flaws with Google’s Bike Routing, some are things the app developers might have not decided to add in.

The app is quick to access. Runs well pulling up maps over the 3G. When you open it up it takes you straight into the map, with a Search/Address bar at the top. Pretty bare bones which can bee good. You simply type in what you want in the search bar. Say “bike shop” it will give you the shops in your location, just like Google would. You click the pin on the map then it brings up information about that location, and you can just click the “Bike Directions” button on the page. From your current location only, you will be given a single suggested bike route to that location (the best bike route, according to Google, including distance, and time it will take). The route is highlighted on the map and the written directions are shown one at a time at the top of the screen, allowing you to see the map and directions at the same time. You then can click through arrows at the top right to use the turn by turn directions, which give you the distance and where to turn each step of the way.

Bike Maps App - First Screen Bike Maps App - Zoomed In Bike Maps App - Bike Shop Bike Maps App - Bike Shop Selecte Bike Maps App - Info Bike Maps App -  Bike Shop Distance and Time Bike Maps App -  LBS 2 of 10 Bike Maps App - LBS 4 of 10 Bike Maps App - LBS End

Here are some things the app is lacking in comparison to the full desktop version of Google’s Bike Route feature. It doesn’t show highlighted bike routes, instead it just shows the standard map view. It would be nice if it showed the highlighted map view, then you could use it to plan your own routes. The app also doesn’t suggest multiple routes to choose from, it uses the very first route that would come up if you used the full desktop version. This can be bothersome because in many situations the first choice Google suggests is not the best one. Also there is no way to edit routes yourself. And the app only allows you to get directions from your current location. For the most part this will be fine, but it would be nice to be able to plan out routes from other locations.

I like this app even with what it might lack right now, it’s a good, straight-forward bicycle routing app and it lets you use Google’s Bike Routing feature on your iPhone. So if that is what you want, this will work for you. Also, there are no ads, which is always good.

Available on the App Store

To Burning Robot LLC or the developer:
I have not found a way to contact you. I would like to find out more about what they are working on. So if you are out there please contact me.

“Bikes Use Bike Signal Only”

Eugene has added a temporary sign, the one that flashes words, saying “Bikes Use Bike Signal Only”. This is great for cyclists and motorists who have yet to realize there is a newly placed bike only traffic signal last Thursday located at 18th/Alder. I am not sure when the light was actually placed or when they will remove it. But I think this is a good idea to help bring awareness to the new signal. To read more about the newly placed bike only traffic signal, read my article here; Eugene’s First Bike Only Traffic Signal

I made a short video of the sign.


Eugene’s First Bike Only Traffic Signal

On Thursday, Eugene got its first bike only traffic signal at the intersection of Alder crossing 18th. It looks like a standard traffic signal with green, yellow and red lights but in the shape of bicycles. The signal right now is considered temporary, only until they get a yellow housing for it, as well as its own mast. It’s a much needed addition for this intersection of the recently redesigned Alder. It allows cyclists to cross 18th safely without the worry of being cut off by cars. Alder is now a one way for cars going south, and 2 lanes for bikes going north and south on the other side of the road. This is an intersection with lots of traffic especially coming away from the university on Alder. I have encountered a couple times where cars would try and turn left in front of me, even with multiple cyclists waiting next to them in the bicycle lane. Hopefully Eugene starts adding more of these bike only traffic signals at other busy intersections. North of 13th of Alder could really use them and it seems like they plan on that from the looks of it.

Some background on the bike only traffic signal: In June the Governor signed SB130 into law which adds bike only signals to Oregon’s list of traffic control devices. (You can read more about the bill here: Bike Portland and Oregon Live) Portland was a big push behind this bill and is working to get its first couple bike only signals in. Portland has been a great help with the innovation of bicycle infrastructure in the US.
 
     

*UPDATE: Video of the Alder St Cycle Track

PSA: Reflective is Cool

This was going to be a simple review on using iron-on reflective tape to enhance your visibility while riding. But with recent news of many cars hitting cyclists, I have decided to do my part to try and keep cyclists safer on the road.

I am young. When I first started riding I never even wore a helmet. I first thought they didn’t look “cool”. (I had one, I just didn’t wear it until I moved to Oregon). This article is NOT about whether you should wear a helmet or not. That all depends on how you are riding and where, and it’s up to you. I will say I now think helmets look cool, and is a great place to put reflective tape or even small lights. I wear mine, and now feel weird if I walk out of the house without having it on, even when I know I’m not riding my bike.

I’ve come a long way since my early years of riding, and have now started using most all safety items. Even thought I never thought I would.
In order of when I started using them:

  • Front blinking light
  • Any number of blinking rear light depending on where and how long I am gone.
  • Helmet
  • 200 lumen front light
  • Any number of blinking rear lights depending on where and how long I am gone.
  • In wheel orange lights
  • Reflective tape on helmet, bike, and anything else. More Here
  • ANSI Class 2 Reflective Vest (something I never thought I would do)
  • 115db Air-horn
  • Bicycle Bell (yes, I got a bell after the horn)
  • Iron on reflective tape for jackets

All these things help you be seen and hopefully keep you out of danger by other cyclists, pedestrians, and car drivers. This was really just going to be about adding some reflection to your person right now. There are a number of ways to help you be seen while riding.

Photos and more about staying visible and safe after the page break.

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Oregon Handmade Bicycle Show 2011

The Oregon Handmade Bicycle Show is happening at GoodLife Brewing Co. in Bend, OR this year on October 29th & 30th. I have gone to the show the past 2 years in Portland. This is always a great event where builders from the Northwest can come and show off their great bikes they have built. With over 30 exhibitors, this event is put on by Oregon Bicycle Constructors Association. I will be posting photos from the event.

Day of the Dead Cyclocross Festival 2011
This event is happening during the same weekend as the Day of the Dead Cyclocross Race, which should be a great time as well. It’s happening just over a mile from the OHBS at the Old Mill District.  There are a couple other bicycle related events going on as well, full list HERE.
This should be a great time for everyone.

These events will be held at:
Oregon Handmade Bicycle Show
GoodLife Brewing
70 SW Century Ave 100-464
Bend, OR 97702

Day of the Dead Cyclocross Race
Old Mill District/Deschutes Brewery
520 S.W. Powerhouse Drive,
Bend, OR 97702

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