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Miami Bike Report Goes Live

December 13, 2010 Leave a comment

A fantastic new online tool has gone live today: Miami Bike Report.

This is a website with a real-time database that can be updated by users via text, email, Twitter or directly on the site, providing a map of South Florida showing where things like blocked bike lanes can be found, road hazards are present or collisions have happened. In short, it’s a living repository of cycling/road information about South Florida updated by the very people on the streets.

This is huge. For people riding their bicycles, it means they can see where trouble spots are found along their planned travel routes. For advocates, they can see areas that deserve special attention for whatever reason. For law-enforcement, they can see places where they should maybe take  a look and ensure all is kosher. For city planners, they can see the areas that they should be paying more attention to based on the actual use feedback.

Literally, this has the potential to be the most useful tool available to bicycling/walking/urban advocates in South Florida. But if, and only if, we the people on the street, use it.

Spread the word about Miami Bike Report and the ways in which it can be updated with reports from the streets. That is the only way in which this will truly be useful and hopefully lead to improvements in our various cities.

Find Miami Bike Report online:

Kudos to the creators for their vision and hard work. You’ve got another supporter right here.

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Miami on Momentum Magazine!

September 6, 2010 1 comment

Miami Momentum

Issue #47 of Momentum Magazine features a spotlight article on greater Miami (City of Miami and Miami Beach), written by local freelance journalist and green mobility advocate Dina Weinstein. In the article we get a fly-by look at the cycling core of the city, as well as a smattering of voices highlighting the various issues facing the south Florida cycling community as we go through our growing pains.

Overall I liked the article; short and sweet, it has a very upbeat tone that touches upon our constant battles but doesn’t miss the fact that Miami is a great place to ride a bike.

I actually pitched to write this article when it was announced to the Momentum writers, and when it was given to Dina, I ended up chatting with her for about an hour about cycling in Miami Beach. Though none of my actual quotes made it in, I can see some of the subjects we touched upon scattered about, and brought to attention by quotes from people far more in positions to speak with authority than I. Which is to say I am glad that it was to Dina that I lost the assignment, and she did an awesome job.

Slow Bike Miami gets a mention in the calendar of cycling activities at the end of the feature, and sadly, that’s where I spotted a factual error, as it lists us as organizers of leisurely weekend rides, which we do not organize formally. Slow Bike Miami is all about sharing our journey on two wheels in the greater Miami area.

If you arrived here via the Momentum feature, please accept our apologies for the misunderstanding. Though know that you can certainly find weekend rides on Miami Beach once a month with the Miami Beach Bicycle Center, as well as others organized by Emerge Miami, the South Florida Bike Coalition, etc., the info for which is all provided on the article itself.

Check out the Miami article online, or track down a printed copy by subscribing (I do!) or requesting your local bike shop to bring in free copies to distribute.

Editorial: The Tragic Catalyst

January 22, 2010 2 comments

Last weekend, on Sunday, January 17, 44-year old Christopher Lecanne was killed in a hit-and-run accident while he bicycled on Key Biscayne, a popular area for road cyclists. The driver of the car was under the influence and after hitting Lecanne, dragged his mangled bike for about 4 miles before it became dislodged from under his car. He was arrested and charged, though a few days ago he posted bail and is currently out of jail.

The event has touched a nerve in the Miami cycling community and seems to be turning into that tragic catalyst that may fuel some actual changes in the city/cities/county of Miami. At least one hopes so.

I wrote an editorial for TransitMiami.com entitled The Tragic Catalyst. I hope it is the last such editorial I ever have to write.

There will be a Memorial Ride for Mr. Lecanne this Sunday on Key Biscayne. My wife and I won’t be attending because we’re both down with a nasty cold, but we certainly extend our sympathies and prayers to the Lecanne family and will be there with the great bicycling community of Miami in spirit.

[Copenhagenize Miami] Definitions: Miamize

December 2, 2009 2 comments

Copenhagenize MiamiIn saying that I seek to “Copenhagenize” Miami, what exactly does that mean? Copenhagen and Miami are very dissimilar cities, so how can one influence the other? And what is this “Bicycle Culture 2.0” that I speak of? Think of them as keywords that convey in a tight package a lot of information about the change sought for Miami.

In this short series, I’ll be defining the terms Bicycle Culture 2.0, Copenhagenize/Copenhagenizing and Miamize.

Miamize

This is, in essence, the result of the transformation discussed; Miamize is what we end up once new ideas of what our city can be with proper bicycling projects in place, what role an enhanced bike-friendly culture can play, and what future we want for Miami as a bikeable city are put into practice. Miamize is what we end up when we’ve taken the Copenhagenize lessons and applied them to our city, our realities of life, our culture. Copenhagenize

Miamize is the ultimate goal: the creation of an exemplary bikeable city that takes advantage of the fantastic year-round weather, flat terrain and dense urban areas in key tourist locations that we already have, and one that moves into the future with a clear and determined plan to develop the necessary components in safety and infrastructure to continue to increase the number of people on bicycles on the roads and the number of trips made by bike overall.

It can be done. It won’t be easy, but it can be done. The City of Miami proved how much could be achieved in a few short years when determination and a clear goal are the guiding lights. Now we must continue what was begun and expand that wave of progress to the rest of the Greater Miami area.

It’s time to Miamize.

[Copenhagenize Miami] Definitions: Copenhagenize

December 1, 2009 2 comments

Copenhagenize MiamiIn saying that I seek to “Copenhagenize” Miami, what exactly does that mean? Copenhagen and Miami are very dissimilar cities, so how can one influence the other? And what is this “Bicycle Culture 2.0” that I speak of? Think of them as keywords that convey in a tight package a lot of information about the change sought for Miami.

In this short series, I’ll be defining the terms Bicycle Culture 2.0, Copenhagenize/Copenhagenizing and Miamize.

Copenhagenize/Copenhagenizing

It may sound presumptuous: “I want to Copenhagenize Miami.” But there is a reason to use the term. Yes, at its core it has to do with the fact that I’m looking to bring the author of Copenhagenize.com and founder of Copenhagenize Consulting to lecture in Miami. Mikael has a very good brand there and it serves to communicate with any who knows about his blog. But there is more, as even to Mikael, the term Copenhagenize has a meaning.

Aside from Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Denmark, is arguably Europe’s most bike-friendly big city; not only does a large percentage of its population use bicycles on a daily basis, it features an amazing network of bicycling infrastructure. It’s a dream for any urban bicyclist. But this wasn’t always the case.

In the 60s, Copenhagen was about as car-clogged a city as any other. It took a number of visionary politicians with gumption to go against the grain to lay the groundwork that would turn Denmark’s capital into a place where today about 55% of the population choose the bicycle for all trips, where 37% of trips by commuters to work and school are by bikes. Yes, Copenhagen had a bicycling legacy from before the post-WWII car boom to recall, but so does the USA (if on a smaller scale).

Modern bike-friendly Copenhagen didn’t happen, it was made, and that’s precisely what Mikael drives at with Copenhagenize.com and Copenhagenize Consulting: every city can be Copenhagenized–that is, taken through a process wherein it is turned into a bike-friendly place via political enactments that promote safe bicycling and build bike infrastructure that anyone can use.

As stated in Copenhagenize Consulting’s Vision:

Copenhagenizing is a way of describing how urban centres can tackle air and noise pollution, rising health care costs due to lifestyle illnesses and obesity as well as creating more liveable cities. Our goal is inspiring and advising others about how to reestablish the bicycle as a transport form by removing the label of cycling as only a sport or a child’s pastime. We do so by using the Copenhagenize Experience as a guide. In the 1960’s cycling was on the decline but we managed to turn that around thanks to visionary urban planning and political decisions.

And thus why the push to Copenhagenize Miami. We have already taken the first steps ourselves: creating the Bike Miami Days & Rides programs, drafting and getting approved the Miami Bicycle Master Plan (Miami Beach has a Bike Master Plan as well), both efforts that turned the City of Miami in only two years from one of Bicycling Magazine’s worst bicycling cities in the US to a stop in their BikeTown USA bike commuting program, an acknowledgment of progress. Now the push is on to move from plans to action.

Ultimately, though, the goal isn’t to become Copenhagen. We aren’t Copenhagen, we are Miami, and in Mikael’s own words, “We start with Copenhagenizing but really the goal is to […] Miamize as soon as possible.”

[Copenhagenize Miami] Definitions: Bicycle Culture 2.0

November 30, 2009 11 comments

Copenhagenize MiamiIn saying that I seek to “Copenhagenize” Miami, what exactly does that mean? Copenhagen and Miami are very dissimilar cities, so how can one influence the other? And what is this “Bicycle Culture 2.0” that I speak of? Think of them as keywords that convey in a tight package a lot of information about the change sought for Miami.

Over the next three posts, I’ll be defining the terms Bicycle Culture 2.0, Copenhagenize/Copenhagenizing and Miamize.

Bicycle Culture 2.0

It’s a rising trend, people riding their bikes as they do normal, day-to-day things. Pin it on global warming, environmentalism, high gas prices, casual fitness fads, the “current economic climate,” the result is the same: people are riding bikes more. A half-century ago and prior, the bike was a commonplace form of transportation for all ages. That changed after the War, and the new affluence brought the development of housing further away from urban centers and the rise of the Car Culture. Cities like Miami became defined by their roads and suburbs, by how long the commutes were, by how big/fast/expensive the cars were. Bikes got relegated to weekend jaunts by  Lycra-clad road warriors, or to the archetypal holiday gift for boys and girls. At most, they became the domain of hipster subcultures thriving on the desolate edges of urban centers. But times are changing.

Bicycle Culture 2.0 is about recapturing that time when bikes were a de facto form of transport and bringing it to the 21st Century, taking advantage of decades of new techniques in urban planning and bicycling advocacy to create a new cityscape that is safe for bicyclists and promotes the use of bikes by all segments of the populations, from the young to the young at heart. With the establishment of the revolutionary form-based zoning code known as Miami 21, the City of Miami already has a blueprint for the building blocks of Bicycle Culture 2.0. Now we have to work on the rest of Greater Miami.

Miami Beach Bikeways Committee November Meeting

November 25, 2009 3 comments

This article is also featured on TransitMiami.com.

City of Miami Beach sealLast Wednesday the 18th, I attended the November meeting of the Miami Beach Bikeways Committee at Miami Beach City Hall. We met in the Mayor’s Conference Room and once again, City Staff were almost half an hour late to the meeting, and it was mentioned this would be addressed later on.

In general this was a very non-productive meeting, yielding only two resolutions and some updates that were not very well explained. It also left me with a bit of a sour taste in regards to the commitment of City Staff, and in turn the City of Miami Beach itself, to the Bikeways Committee and what it represents for this city.

With the minutes from the previous meeting approved and no guests other than myself, we got to the updates immediately.

Read more…

Help Me To Copenhagenize Miami

November 16, 2009 6 comments

Copenhagenize.com's Mikael Colville-AndersenI’ve already mentioned that one of my favorite bicycling blogs is Copenhagenize.com by Mikael Colville-Andersen. Do a Google search for “bicycle blog” and you’ll see it right on the first page, which is how my wife and I found it when we first started getting into bikes. Not only has it spawned a spin-off, Copenhagen Cycle Chic, it has also inspired an entire following of blogs based on the same idea, showcasing and promoting regular bicycling in their cities: Amsterdamize.com, Portlandize.com, NewAmsterdamize.com, etc. Mikael writes that he wants to Copenhagenize the planet, and he’s well on his way.

I want to make Miami the next stop on that wave of change, and I need your help.

Read more…

On Critical Mass

November 3, 2009 38 comments

Miami Critical MassThe Miami Herald published in both online and print form an article on Miami’s Critical Mass this past weekend. The writer, Andres Viglucci, rode with the group on at least one ride, probably a couple more, and used his first-hand experience to give us an article that describes the group. It is a good article, well written, and fairly unbiased; Viglucci calls out the good and the bad, though the bad tends to get excused and hand-waved a little too easily.

I’ve toyed with the idea of writing about Critical Mass here on and off for months, but I always put it off. I’ll take Andres’ article as a good excuse to finally tackle the CM monster once and for all, get it out of my system, onto the blog, and move on.

I don’t like Critical Mass. I find it hinders, rather than help, the cause of urban bicycling as a day-to-day activity and needlessly pits cyclists, all cyclists, into an us-vs-them conflict with motorists. It also creates false expectations about urban bicycling and does nothing to encourage a shift into a bicycling lifestyle, not to mention it encourages illegal riding as a norm.

This is a good place to make something very clear: I am interested in having a conversation, not an argument. This isn’t personal; I don’t dislike nor have anything against those that ride in Critical Mass. I dislike the entity of Critical Mass, and I hope that by explaining why, those that participate will at least think about what it means for them to associate with this entity, and to truly reflect on why they are doing it and what they are really accomplishing.

Read more…

Slow Bike Miami Endorses Gabrielle Redfern for Miami Beach Commissioner

October 30, 2009 Leave a comment

Back in June Gabrielle Redfern contacted me via this blog to perhaps meet up. She said her roots were in bicycling advocacy and wanted to chat about that and the City of Miami Beach. At the time I was in Puerto Rico and could not meet with her, especially as the electoral race in the Beach started to heat up. I’ve been paying close attention to the race for the various spots in City Hall coming November 3, and there is one race where I know for sure who I’m betting on.

As far as Commissioner Group 3 is concerned, I fully believe that Gabrielle Redfern is the right choice for the job, which is why I’m making this my first ever official public endorsement for a political race.

Gabrielle RedfernBoth The Miami Herald and Transit Miami have endorsed Gabrielle as well, mainly for her transportation activism and her gumption to tackle hard issues head-on. I like that. That she’s also a bike supporter (Miami New Times called her “Miami Beach’s one-woman bike lobby“) just adds to her appeal. We, the bicyclists of Miami Beach, and especially the advocates striving to better the situation for everyone, need all the support we can get inside City Hall, and that’s precisely what Gabrielle seems to bring.

Join us on November 3 at your local Miami Beach polling place in electing Gabrielle Redfern for Group 3 Commissioner.

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