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Posts Tagged ‘Education’

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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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.

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…

Miami Bicycle Master Plan Unanimously Approved

October 9, 2009 1 comment

Miami Bicycle Master Plan

The Miami Bicycle Master Plan, crafted after a lot of research by Mike Lydon of The Streets Plans Collaborative (and whom we saw sporting a cool bicycling shirt back in August), went before the City Commission and was unanimously approved.

Let me let that sink in. Read more…

Miami Cyclists: Please Be Nice

September 21, 2009 1 comment

Consider this as a PSA of sorts.

I was reading my new favorite webcomic (a post about it later this week) and came across this strip.

I’ll be darned if that’s not how I’ve felt sometimes when I’m out riding. This is especially a problem when we ride Downtown from the Beach for a Bike Miami Days event, when we come across a great number of hunched over Lycra-clad speedsters. I’ll wave, nod, ring my bell at them in a quick greeting/acknowledgment, and I get nothing in return. And yes, they can see me. It’s happened in places where we’ve waited at a light together; nothing. I even got the impression more than a couple of times that they looked down on me and my fat-tire cruiser, judging me from their thin bikes and form-fitting clothes. Stupid elitism, all of it. After a while, I stopped trying to connect.

Except I don’t want to stop. I like waving hi at other cyclists when we’re out riding, and it wouldn’t kill the speedsters to say hi back. I see it as an extension of the staggering amount of rudeness there is on Miami streets. But I refuse to stop doing it.

So, Miami cyclists, please be nice to each other. If you see another rider, regardless of the bike or the clothes, take a second to acknowledge them with a nod, a small wave, a ring of the bicycle bell, something. Let’s start eradicating that rude behavior from our streets one bike rider at a time.

Hello Bicycle, by Mikael/Zakkalicious

Categories: Slow Bike Miami Tags: ,

The Final Miami Bicycle Summit

September 17, 2009 Leave a comment

Miami Bicycle InitiativesSeptember 21st will see the final summit to present the City of Miami Bicycle Master Plan for public review. This will be the last chance for the public at large to see what the City of Miami is planning to do in regards to bicycling, including programs and infrastructure, and more importantly, to give feedback on the proposed plan. The two previous summits were a success in terms of public participation and education, so I’ve no doubt this one will go off without a hitch as well. Sadly, we won’t be in attendance, as we already had something scheduled for that night.

Final Miami Bicycle Summit

Monday, September 21, 2009
6:30pm – 8:00pm
Belafonte TACOLCY Center
6161 Northwest 9th Avenue
Miami, FL
Google Map here

For more information, check out the City of Miami Bicycle Master Plan page. Though some of the documents need to be updated to reflect the second and now third bicycle summits, you can see detailed PDFs of the City of Miami Bike Related Projects for 2009 and 2010, as well as the proposed (and hoped for) combined bike lane/path/way network at the end of 2010 (frankly, if half of those proposed bike corridors can be put into service I will feel that it has been a success).

Categories: Slow Bike Miami Tags: ,

My Bike Miami Wish List

September 10, 2009 4 comments

Bike Miami DaysAs we stand on the threshold of autumn (for whatever that is worth in Miami), and with it a new season of Bike Miami Days, I can’t help but be excited. What started as a one-day event back in November 2008 has exploded into a whole entity, now with seven all-day ciclovías under its belt, as well as a handful of rides to tie people over during the hot summer months. During that time the event has grown and attracted more and more sponsors, ranging from commercial endeavors to non-profit organizations, which has helped extend the experience from “just biking around” to (if you’ll permit me the grandiose language) a celebration of community.


I wrote the above about a week-and-a-half before current news on the possibility of there being no Bike Miami Days in the fall became available. I decided to leave it because it expresses how I feel about Bike Miami and why it is important enough to keep around. Perhaps we’ll get good news, Bike Miami Days will be back on the schedule, and the above will once again fully apply. As we ponder the future of Bike Miami Days, I’d like to talk about some things I would like to see in future events, features that I think will enhance the Bike Miami Days experience and help the general cycling community in Miami at the same time.

#1. Lights & Bells For Every Bicycle

Florida Bicycle Law requires every bike that rides at night to be equipped with both a front and a rear light.

Lighting (see Section 316.2065, F.S.)
A bicycle operated between sunset and sunrise must be equipped with a lamp on the front exhibiting a white light visible from 500 feet to the front and both a red reflector and a lamp on the rear exhibiting a red light visible from 600 feet to the rear.

I cannot count the number of bikes I’ve seen riding after sunset that have no lights at all; at most they have the reflector that came with the bike when they purchased it and that’s all. We need to educate all riders, especially the casual ones, that having lights on their bikes is the law. The ideal here would be to have a partnership with a bike shop or bike light manufacturer so that discounts and/or free samples can be given out.

Likewise, though Florida Bicycle Law does not require it, every bike should be equipped with a bell. Every bike. Even you, Lycra speedsters. Just like every car needs a horn to signal, so does every bike. A loud “excuse me” when the rider is already on top of pedestrians/other riders is not acceptable. Bells are de rigeur in countries with high bikeability because they are essential parts of the riding experience. I’d love to see a company donate a large number of bells that can be given out to Bike Miami participants (perhaps these can even be branded with Bike Miami stickers!).

#2. Bike & Ride Support from Miami-Dade Transit

Miami-Dade county’s public transit already has in place a good Bike & Ride program for bicycle commuters. I would love to see a kiosk with representatives educating people about this program, answering questions, processing and handing out Metrorail bike permits (currently these can only be obtained at the Government Center Metrorail station or by mail – why not online baffles me) and teaching people how to properly use the Metrobus bike racks (right). For a double-whammy, have folks there also from Tri-Rail (though maybe not, considering their bicycle policies seem a bit off-putting).

#3. Bike Miami-branded Merchandise

Frankly, this should have been instituted right from the second Bike Miami Day event! By the end of the inaugural Bike Miami in November I wanted a T-shirt and stickers with the Bike Miami logo (which actually changed from that very first one used to the current one). I wanted to show my support by wearing that shirt around, and I still very much do. I have a feeling of this being a case of Bike Miami team members being overwhelmed by their regular daily duties plus the event work to have time to get this done. Silk screening on T-shirts is fairly inexpensive, especially in bulk quantities, so Bike Miami shirts aren’t that unfeasible; sold at $25 or so, depending on how many were printed, these could pay for themselves fairly quick and bring in some extra revenue. (Click on the image for a larger version)

Aside from T-shirts, stickers are another great an inexpensive way to spread the news about the event. I would go with both bumper stickers and 2″-3″ round stickers right off the bat, as these are the most versatile sizes.

Other possible branded items include water bottles (to promote proper hydration while riding), bike bells (see how I tied points #1 and #3?) and cycling jerseys (I don’t particularly care for them, the time-trialists don’t ride without wearing these).

I, of course, am assuming that most Bike Miami fans are rabid about the event like me and would buy all these branded items.

#4. Support/Presence from Bike Companies

Though ultimately this is out of the Bike Miami team’s hands, I’d love to see bicycle manufacturers and other related bicycle companies sponsor and present at the events. Bicycling Magazine has already sponsored a Miami edition of BikeTown, so get them to return with a kiosk. Has anyone other than me noticed the high number of Electra bicycles present at Bike Miami Days (starting with our very own Willow)? Let’s call them and get them to come down. Same thing with Trek, Giant, Jamis, Schwinn and any other major manufacturer (if you want to really target it, start going through the photos and picking out bike brands). Be bold and call emerging/new to the area companies; brands that are starting out or entering a new market could benefit from the exposure. While at it, call Lazer Helmets and Bell (helmets & accessories) as well. You get the idea: if it’s a major bicycle article manufacturer, call them up and try to get them to sponsor and present at the show. Events like Bike Miami and the (hopeful) adoption of programs like Miami 21 make the city an emerging market in serious bicycling, and these companies have a chance to make an early and important impact on consumers.

Got thoughts on these ideas or further ones? Let me know in the comments.