Tag Archives: news

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.

Kickstand Cyclery Open for Business!

Yehuda Moon IconYehuda Moon and the Kickstand Cyclery comics are back today. The comic was on a short hiatus while Rick Smith and Brian Griggs figured out what to do with the strip. There was a Kickstarter to raise money for Volumes 2, 3, and 4 to be printed into books. They only needed $18,000 for their goal to produce the books, but ended up with a breathtaking $44,054, from 660 backers. Which is great, I can’t wait to get my volumes in the mail anytime now I would imagine.

Open for Business

Open for Business 12-30-2011

Now for 2012 the comics will be published 5 days a week, Monday through Friday. The new comic will be for Kickstand Club Members, pay $1 a month or $12 for the whole year. With that it allows you to get: Access to the new comic, and view old comics by year/month on nicely organized pages. Non-members can still view old comics, they just have to navigate through on a large pull down menu or clicking through them like the old days. Members will get discounts in the store, and freebies. So become a member now to see the new comics. The comics will also appear in Bicycle Times magazine again starting with issue 15, Feb 2012. Thank you again Rick and Brian, for all the hard work with the comic and for keeping it going. YehudaMoon.com

And again, just like my post about the Kickstand Kickstarter: If you haven’t heard of Yehuda Moon you can still get started reading them, They are all online still, here is a link to the first strip. Yehuda Moon 01-22-2008

Yehuda Moon 01-22-2008

Rainy Day Floods & Splash Cam Test

Flooded Bicycle PathYesterday after reading a blog post from Eugene Bicyclist about the Fern Ridge Bike Path flooding at the underpasses below the streets. (Read Here) I decided to I wanted to check this out for myself, being my first year in Eugene. Before the ride, I constructed something I’ve been meaning to try out. I mounted my Fuji Waterproof XP10 camera on the the end of some “bull-horn” handle bars I got from a friend. I used a camera mount from a cheap small tripod and attached them to the end of the bar. It seemed to work out alright for the first day.  This should give us a new perspective to add to the videos Angel and I make.
Camera Mount Camera Mount Camera Mount

Here are 2 short video of the first test with the camera mount.

Splash Through The Rain from Austin McKimmey on Vimeo.

Fern Ridge Bike Path Flood from Austin McKimmey on Vimeo.

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.

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.

Continue reading

Drift Roberts and Smile Train

We have a friend staying with us right now in Eugene. Drift Roberts, a young stand up comic, is walking from Portland, OR to Los Angeles, CA, which is roughly 1000 miles, at the rate about 25 miles a day. He started October 15th and is going through November 23rd, spreading the word and raising money for Smile Train and its cause. Smile Train’s mission is to provide free cleft surgery to hundreds of thousands of poor children in developing countries. (more info HERE)

He spent some time with us in Eugene. I showed him Eugene by bike and we spent time riding around and just relaxing. We hiked up to the top of Skinner’s Butte, then ate some biscuits and gravy at the Wandering Goat. It was a great time; we enjoyed having him around.

If you are interested in helping out or just want to know more information about Drift Roberts and Smile Train, you can follow his journey on these sites:
Smile Train Website
Smile Train Walk Twitter
Drift Roberts on Twitter
Drift Roberts on Facebook

Drift Roberts, up at the top of Skinner's Butte

Drift Roberts, up at the top of Skinner's Butte

GM Reality Sucks Bike Ad, Giant Has Their Own

Recently GM had placed this add in many college newspapers across the country and has taken a lot of flack for it. The ad depicts an embarrassed young man on a bicycle covering his face from an attractive female sitting comfortably in a GM car. With the Quote “Stop pedaling… start driving.” at the bottom. GM has decided to pull the ad and they are apologizing for their offensive ad. (via there Twitter)

GM "Reality Sucks Ad"

GM "Reality Sucks Ad"

Giant Bicycles has recently released a more truthful ad as a follow up to GM’s misstep.

Giant Reality Does Suck

Giant Reality Does Suck

Doe, a Deer, a Bike Rack

There are some new great bike racks here in Eugene. I think they are pretty nice looking. The racks were designed by students at Lane Community College. Here are some photos I took of them yesterday.

There is a herd of deer in front of the Kiva Grocery Store across from the bus station. In an on street bike corral called the “Deer Park” .

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Located in front of the Kiva Grocery Store at the corner of 11th Ave and Olive Street.

Here is the “Big Wheel” along with signs pointing to major landmarks in Eugene; they include the distance and their approximate travel times by bike.

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Located in front of the Morning Glory Cafe at 450 Willamette Street, Eugene, OR

It seems there soon will be more of these nice bike rack art installations. Here is some information about it from The Register-Guard Article

Another artistic corral — titled “Real Wheels” — is planned to be installed in front of the Cornucopia Restaurant on Pearl Street north of Fifth Avenue next spring. It will include a wagon wheel, bicycle wheel, paddle wheel and others representing several historic modes of transportation.

More about the racks from The Register-Guard Here