Friday, October 3, 2008

Bicycle Commuter Benefit Signed Into Law

Now, remember, you read it

Fritz has the whole bill on Cyclelicious.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Notes of organizing meeting on 11SEP2008









Ed Wagner

Doug Waldman

Chris Wollard

Steve Monroe

Julie Vega

Paul Tay

George Hall

Mike Schooling

Tom Brown

Richard Hall

Vickie Sanborn

Brian Potter

Ren Barger

Rhonda James

Robyn Stroup

Chris Regan

Andy Wheeler

Some quotes:

On bicycle commuting, "I could go a shorter route if I wanted to risk the roads."

"When I drive my car, I'm grouchy and miserable when I get home."

Rich Brierre is now Director of INCOG.

Tulsa Streets package vote will be held in November. Cyclists need to be in on the planning process up front rather than as an expensive afterthought.

We need to establish a board to work with INCOG on planning. INCOG has stipulations as to representation which was the heart of original organizing document. The INCOG bicycling subcommittee was geographically diverse, skills diverse, not 'wheelmen' running everything. (In the public vernacular, 'wheelmen' are all those cyclists in lycra, not just the Tulsa Wheelmen. It's a derisive shorthand for cycling elitists. More on this later.)

Richard Hall asked, "What do we do if he says 'we don't want you.'" (THIS QUESTION IS YET TO BE ANSWERED.)

We talked about planning and planning documents, where the devil is always in the details. A plan that looks good on a webpage can have nightmarish details at the street level because planners simply draw lines between points. Public Works wants to do cycling projects as simply and cheaply as possible.

Paul Tay wants to find unique solutions for Tulsa. He noted as a source of information, and wanted stuff thats beyond spandex.

George Hall, a forensic engineer, investigates accidents including bicycle accidents. He is a lifelong cyclist and League of American Bicyclists Life member old enough to persist in calling it LAW, the League of American Wheelmen. "My bikes are almost as old as me." George is interested in safety. He is a civil engineer with a design perspective. He is frustrated at the pace here in Tulsa. A former commuter, George says the time is now with the energy situation, the emphasis on environment, and Complete Streets, though they probably don't know what that truly means in terms of the national organization. Frustrated that word doesn't get down to surrounding cities where we all ride, as there is no organized mechanism to get info to city planners.

Richard Hall (no relation) is a Tulsa Bicycle Club member and President Elect of the Oklahoma Bicycling Coalition. He's encountered problems in his own neighborhood with PW projects, and noted that after work has been approved and built, it is very hard to change.

Mike Schooling endorsed best practices. Mike is another TBC member very active in volunteer work with the Tulsa Tough where he has organized the group assembling bicycles as part of the Kids Challenge. He wants to improve environment for cycling, and notes that Tulsa is already a bicycling friendly city in many ways. He said that Chicago's Mayor Daley rides with Public works on his bike, and that we should do the same with Tulsa councilors. Mike said there are lots of studies touting bike lanes, but none yet that indicate what other facilities do to promote cycling. What effects result from projects such as good signals that detect cyclists, education, enforcement? Cities should be promoting cycling, because what benefits cyclists benefits motorists also. Tulsa doesn't have the money for extensive facilities, so we have to find solutions that work here.

Tom Brown of Tom's Bicycles thinks this group should position itself as the go to experts in this part of OK. These poiticians and planners really don't know what we want, so we have to convince them to listen to us. We can give them useful advice.

Rhonda Link - Ren's mother - wants to see cycling etiquette and education. Noted that an acquaintance single handedly brought bike paths to his town. Offered to assist with vision and fund raising.

Robyn Stewart wants to use bike as basic transportation. She sees more people biking downtown, more than she's ever seen before.

Julie Vega arrived with Ren and is learning more about the HUB. Rode in SF for a year, but finds it kind of scary here. She said there's no specified place to ride and doesn't feel comfortable riding a bike on the road. She wants changes in city laws and wants to do what she can as part of the community.

Steve Monroe wasn't sure what aspect he could do, but came to learn.

Doug Waldman, business owner, commutes from south Tulsa to near the airport, a distance of 23 miles. He takes a relaxing route rather than fight traffic, riding when he can. He puts in thousands of miles back and forth to work and finds Tulsa is not a bad place to ride. "I merge into traffic, but don't fit on Memorial or 169, and people are confused that I stop at sto signs." 99 percent of drivers are friendly. You don't have to spend a lot of money. Bike lanes don't go where you want to go anyway. People think that in a bike lane you don't have to stop.

Vickie Sanborn wasn't entirely sure why she attended, but said her interest is in bicycling safety and more education for people on bikes, both adults and children. She told us of visiting her son in Minneapolis. They were riding on a trail and came to an intersection. Her son 'flew across the street' without stopping. she was shocked, but he said that the law requires motorists to stop - not bicyclists - and the motorists actually yield to cyclists. It was amazing. Vickie is a realtor who commutes on bike, and she'd like to show houses via bicycle as some realtors do in bike friendly communities.

Brian Potter witnessed poor bicycle planning and hostile drivers in Austin TX. He terms the city of Tulsa becoming less courteous than previously. Brian asked that this be added: "Only the native Okie courtesy has kept our roads remotely civilized...Unfortunately, we're losing our native courtesy at a rapid rate. The pavement needs help, but the continuity of streets and availability of routes is really quite astounding." He gave much credit to both Malcolm McCollam and Gary Parker for the on-street route system and establishing the first INCOG bicycling subcommittee. Brian said that he and Sandra Crisp became involved in the plan after it had been taken away from cyclists. It called for mandatory sidewalk riding, for one. The BAG made an important contribution. Brian also noted that Tulsa had more LCIs than rest of the state.

Chris Wofford termed himself as "part of Ren's army."

Ren Barger said that she's usually the youngest person at these meetings. As a student in Chicago, she did "jalopy riding, sidewalk riding, and was completely clueless." A bad crash ultimately brought her home to Tulsa, where she works at Lee's Bicycles. Involvement in the Tulsa Tough lead to LCI training. She like the big festivaland its youth element, the Kids Challenge. Ren took over the Community Cycling Project from Sandra Crisp, rehabing donated bikes for transients and providing them with bicycling education. This is based on a Portland program and is designed for commuting. It has been very successful, but was unfortunately formant for about 6 months. An Urban Tulsa piece sparked fresh interest. The Tulsa Community Foundation offered a building at 216 N Elgin (corner of elgin and brady near spaghetti warehouse) for the Tulsa HUB, ultimately to be a 501c3 with space for the CCP, a retail shop catering to commuters and recreational riders. This is to be a sustainable business that promotes creativity, but it must be Tulsa specific, not a template taken from another city.

Ed Wagner, a lifelong bicycle commuter, moved here from Pittsburgh and discovered that motorists are accomodating for the most part. Was a 'gutter bunny' commuter when first met Brian, hugged the right hand verge and complained of motorists. I'd been riding for a long time, yet the demonstration of lane postioning was an eye-opener. It was so much easier. Shortly after that I attended a Road1 course. Brian was instrumental in setting up both Road1 and the LCI class here in Tulsa. LCI is about teaching, not knowing everything about cycling. I've learned much from waching others, especially Gary and Ren. Some of us learn via experience, and I'm a a slow learner at times.

Some background information: The INCOG bicycling subcommittee had its second interation under Aaron Bell. When he left, the committee fell apart. Patrick Fox lead an informal committee. Now, bicycling advocacy in Tulsa is this group, a small group of interested people. There are different levels to get involved. We have regional and national advocacy. OBC is the state level group, whose main focus is education and legislation. Access. safety, and education are part of their mission statement. OBC is small and diverse. LAB is the national organization. It runs on a shoestring budget of 1.5 million last year. LAB runs the Bike Friendly City program, and certifies the Bike Ed program. The city of Tulsa (specifically the mayor) is interested in BFC status. We regard BFC, Tulsa Tough, and a comprehensive bicyle master plan as parts of a whole. They are interrelated. Tulsa wants BFC status to attract young people for employment. The Tulsa Tough highlights the city as a cool place to live for those with an outdoor lifestyle. The Tough is an opportunity for both bike education and public relations. It's a big effort each spring. The lack of a comprehensive bike master plan was one reason BFC status was denied last year. There is a trail plan on INCOG maps, but a master plan specifies our vision for cycling in city. We need share the road signs, signals that recognize cyclists, etc. INCOG wants input from citizens, and you're citizens. You should have input as to how this impacts your life.

Mike Schooling mentioned as an opportunity for input. It will be held on Sept 22 and 23 and is meant to solicit planning regrading city development and provide a long range plan. Each table will have a map with stickers highlighting various ideas. It's recommended that cyclists be spread out, not clustered at one table. Mike recommended getting friends, relatives, etc. at the tables. What works well for motorists works for cyclists too, and doesn't necessitate a lot of dollars.

This new organization - if it is to be an organization - doesn't have a name yet. TAOBIKE can offer advocacy leadership and ultimately it may be one organization with 2 wings: one for advocacy and planning, and the other for BikeEd. Since it's a small group, there's little sense in splitting in two, and there will be lots of crossover as we seek to educate motorists, politicians, planners, law enforcement and even cycling advocates. We cannot afford a pie-in-the-sky approach that's not grounded in reality. We face many constraints. But it's good that we have more poeple than we have positions (on the subcommittee/BAG).

In a brief conversation with Rich Brierre, I said that the cycling subcommittee dies each time INCOG has a personnel change. What if we establish an outside group to do the function of that subcommittee, supplying expertise and knowledge. Rich said that if it's a "representative group" he could work with it. The group must have more than one point of view.

Mike asked, "What do we want to be when we grow up?" Some discussion ensued as to what to call ourselves, what our authority would be, and what the makeup of the group would be. Paul wanted 9 members (on the advisory group) each from one of Tulsa's 9 council districts. This would limit the group to Tulsa only, and there was some discussion of regional goals. Paul rightly pointed out that the group should be able to take on any cycling issue it chooses.

Also, there is a list of no cost/low cost ideas compiled by Gary Parker that may be useful in the PlaniTulsa meetings. It will be circulated to the group.


PAUL WILL WORK ON COMPREHENSIVE MASTER PLANS. Brian suggested keeping it short and simple, essentially LAB's 5 Es: engineering, education, enforcement, encouragement, equality, and evaluation. If we can get the City of Tulsa to adopt a bicycling master plan, INCOG may be able to sell that to the other regional members.



Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Proposed Agenda for Thursday's Meeting

Agenda Items

A brief history of TAOBIKE

Malcolm McCollum and the first BAG

The ad-hoc committee of volunteers/ on-street planning/the usual suspects

Aaron Bell and the bicycling subcommittee

Patrick Fox and the informal bicycling subcommittee

Initial Road1 class due to Brian's efforts

Initial LCI class. It's not a certification that we know everything about cycling. It's a certification that we can teach what we know.

Recent addition to the local advocacy effort – The Hub – Ren Barger to lead.

INCOG bicycling subcommittee and functions

Why are we here today?

We are looking specifically for people who can work with INCOG on regional planning, and on the proposed Comprehensive Bicycling Master Plan ( a BFC requirement). INCOG requires a representative group for such planning. We must recognize that the available pool of people willing to commit time to bicycling advocacy is quite small, therefore this committee will still be self-selected to some extent. The usual suspects again.

INCOG's original organizing document addressed representation as follows:

The Advisory Group shall be composed of 9 voting members: A Chairman, one representative from the Tulsa Bicycle Club, one representative from the Tulsa Wheelmen, one representative from an area bicycle shop, one representative from the suburban cycling community, a representative from the Oklahoma Bicycling Coalition, one bicycle commuter appointed by the Chairman, a member at large appointed by the Chairman, and a representative from one of the area corporate bicycle commuter programs.

Regional and national bicycling advocacy: an overview of OBC and LAB

LAB is the national advocacy organization. They oversee the BikeEd program and lobby for bicycling at the federal level. They confer BFC status. Tulsa wants BFC status. We have an opportunity to accomplish that due to some unique factors here. 1. Average 5 mile commute. 2. Favorable topography and street grid system. 3. Motorists more accommodating than in other cities.

The Oklahoma Bicycling Coalition is the state advocacy organization. They offer some education support, lobby for bicycling at the state level, and pursue other projects like SRTS.

Bicycling education for advocacy

This is separate from BikeEd. An advocate must know the best practices in cycling. This is twofold. First, there's the personal standpoint of being a more capable cyclist. Then there's the additional focus on influencing public policy.

Bicycling for 'ordinary' people

In a recent meeting with our elected officials, one city councilman complained that the "Wheelmen" have too much influence over bicycle planning in the city of Tulsa, and that more ordinary people should be involved. 'Wheelmen' in common vernacular - is anyone wearing lycra and a helmet. Such cyclists are seen as the elite riders. Be aware that if you pursue bicycling advocacy and persist in learning the best practices, statistics, and other relevant safety information, you too will be labeled as an elitist. This is an upside down comparison to the intention of Driver's Education, where we expect to train new drivers before they'll be safe on the public roads. After receiving that training and getting a few years of experience, they're considered 'average' drivers - not elitists. Why then do we turn this assumption on its head and presume to make roads 'safe' for untrained, inexperienced cyclists? And why dismiss those who've taken time and effort to develop a thorough understanding of bicycling safety?

Tulsa's Transportation Advisory Board

Upcoming vote on streets package. Cyclists use the streets too, and should be included in any planning as a routine accommodation. Otherwise, we have to play the catch up game after plans are finalized. What do we want? Signals that reliably detect bicycles (or motorcycles, for that matter). Smooth paved surfaces free of debris, storm grates, cracks, potholes, or anything that may cause a diversion fall. Inclusion of bicycling education at several levels: possibly free to city residents, as part of DUI classes, as part of outreach to homeless or disadvantaged. The proposed Comprehensive Bicycling Master Plan would be a product of this board.

Opportunities for advocacy: teachable moments

Public Works


Law enforcement

Elected officials


Common misconceptions

Bicycling advocacy can be accurately characterized as being much like playing WHACK-A-MOLE. It can be both frustrating and rewarding, but there's intense satisfaction gained in those brief moments of reward. You can expect to encounter these misconceptions repeatedly:

Bikes don't belong on the road

Riding a bicycle is extremely hazardous or even suicidal

Helmets make you safe

Ride against traffic

Sidewalks are safer

Ride like you're invisible

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Organizing meeting






The Green Country Bicycling Advisory Group (working title) will have an organizing meeting on Thursday, September 11th at the Martin East Regional Library at 7PM.

TAOBIKE has long supported local bicycling advocacy, education, and planning in the Tulsa region. In order to work effectively with INCOG and local governments, TAOBIKE is inviting members of the Green Country area to form a standing Bicycling Advisory Group (hereafter referred to as the BAG) to provide input from the cycling community on issues relating to bicycle commuting, bicycle safety, facilities improvement, project identification, project review, and any other relevant bicycling issue. The BAG will perform the same function as INCOG's former Bicycling Advisory Subcommittee while remaining independent of INCOG.

Why do we need a BAG? INCOG's Bicycling Advisory Subcommittee has met infrequently over the last few years because of personnel changes at INCOG. TAOBIKE seeks representatives from throughout the region to participate in a more stable group, the Green Country Bicycling Advisory Group.

The Indian Nations Council of Governments (INCOG) performs regional transportation planning for member governments, seeing that plans meet federal standards and that they are consistent and coordinated throughout the region. INCOG also performs due diligence by seeing that federal funds allocated to a project are actually used for that project. The Bicycling Subcommittee assisted with planning the annual Bike to Work events, as well as providing input on various facility proposals.

Membership in TAOBIKE is entirely voluntary and there are no dues. The BAG will require something more valuable than your money--your time. Members may participate by attending public meetings with government officials, poring over planning documents where the devil is truly in the details, or writing emails in order to initiate a dialog. We don't need large numbers to be effective. But we do need inter-connectedness. Effective advocacy means learning about best practices in bicycling, both from a public policy viewpoint and a personal one. It means much more than just knowing how to ride a bike. Members should educate themselves, their clubs, and the public about the best cycling practices in order to better serve the cycling public. TAOBIKE exists to help advocates in this cause and to represent policies in the interest of the public.

Simply attending this meeting is the first step. It shows an interest in making Tulsa a better place for all cyclists. The next step is to learn more about bicycling. Finally, there's the commitment to spending time on bicycling advocacy. Without committed local advocates, we will not see positive changes that directly effect local cyclists.


This group was originally Tulsa Bicycling Advisory Group, or T_BAG. All the members of the first INCOG BAG were invited to join. The group was regional, however, not specific to the city of Tulsa. Hence the need for a name change. We've worked with INCOG and Tulsa Public Works regarding the on-street plan and found many areas for improvement. TAOBIKE has been the formative hub for each iteration of INCOG's Bicycling Subcommittee. It is a loosely-organized group of like-minded volunteers.

Monday, August 25, 2008

TAOBIKE planning meeting

Note: The date give for the proposed BAG meeting is listed as 12SEP2008. That is the Friday before the MS150 weekend. I'm trying to find a meeting room on the 11th, because I suspect there will be fewer scheduling conflicts. Also, as Tim Armer from INCOG was able to attend, we covered much more than the original 3 item agenda. It was a productive meeting.....Ed

TAOBIKE planning meeting


We had three goals for this meeting:

Set the schedule for BikeEd classes.

Discuss the HUB.

Discuss growing TAOBIKE.

List of attendees:

Tim Armer

Gary Parker

Ren Barger

Mike Schooling

Andy Wheeler

Brian Potter

Richard Hall

Steve (?)

Ed Wagner


Tim Armer provided some background on INCOG's role in local planning. He discussed the changes to the EPA dirty air list and mentioned that the changes may bring more than 300 cities into non-compliance where only 80 had been before now. One reason Tulsa was denied BFC status was because it does not have a Comprehensive Bicycle Planning document, a situation we would like to address. As always, pursuing funding is the hard part.


PlaniTulsa is an opportunity for community participation in the city planning. Register on-line to participate in a workshop on September 22 or 23.


The HUB is part of Tulsa's beautification project and will be a central component in BikeEd. Ren has secured a 10,000 sq. ft. facility located near the new stadium. The plan is to offer Road1 classes, bicycle repair classes, a cafe, and much, much more. The Community Cycling Project will be the major agenda item. There is a parking lot adjacent to the facility for Road1 drills. It should be operational by November. There is a possibility that The HUB will be involved in the Tulsa Townie program in the future. (An aside – the Tulsa Townie program sees an average of 200+ bicycles used on an average weekend, and there are 75 bicycles in the fleet.) The HUB has a website and is currently looking for a web designer and content. Note that The HUB will be closed through the months of February and August in order to save energy.


BikeEd – there is some interest in offering a Road1 course through 360 Sports, a local bike shop in Owasso. If this is successful, it may be a blueprint for Road1 in other suburban communities in the region. Tulsa is the biggest market, of course, but a program like this highlights our interest in all area communities. We would like to get some of the BikeEd curriculum into local DUI schools. We need to find contacts at the courthouse or possibly through MADD.

Bike to Work

There was some discussion of Bike to Work events and AA was mentioned specifically. Also, it was pointed out that many bicycle commuters are unable to attend BTW events because they're already at work!

Tulsa Transit

We discussed Tulsa Transit's Rack and Roll program that offers program participants a free bicycle for 24 hours at the Denver Avenue station. (pdf)

LAB News

LAB is looking for Ambassadors. This is from the American Bicyclist Update, 19AUG2008:

We are creating a new volunteer position to provide a stronger link
between our regional directors (who have to serve many states)
and the cycling community in every state – clubs, advocacy
groups, the industry, mountain bike and racing activities, and more.
State ambassadors will work with board members and staff to
provide closer liaison between the regional director and
League members, volunteers and affiliated organizations
identify issues, challenges, and opportunities for the League
to address in relation to its member services and programs;
promote member participation in the League; promote League
membership, services and programs to people and organizations
in their state; and assist their regional director in
recommending regional events and award recipients for the
national office. Appointments will be made this fall, following
the Board of Directors meeting on September 25. We welcome
applications – please send a cover letter and resume –
through September 15; please send your nomination to and make reference to
“state ambassador” in the subject line of your e-mail.
Note: technically, we know this isn’t a new position.
We used to have state representatives and state legislative
representatives a while back. We’ve chosen the term
“ambassador” this time as we want people who are facilitators
and connectors, people who can help the League’s programs
come to life, and who can process valuable feedback
on those programs for the board and staff.

Upcoming events calendar:
Bike to Work 12SEP
BAG & Master Plan Meeting 12SEP
MS150 13-14SEP
Road1 20SEP tentative
TBC Fall Century 27SEP
Claremore 4OCT
Road1 Owasso 20OCT tentative
Tulsa Tough Skill Drills (kids) 9MAY2009 and 23MAY2009 tentative

BAG and Comprehensive Bicycling Master Plan meeting
The Bicycling Subcommittee (BAG) at INCOG has had a problem
whenever there's a staff change at the agency. We've had to
re-organize and start from zero each time. This is difficult for everyone
involved. So in order to provide some continuity within the bicycling
advisory group, we are proposing the formation of a permanent
bicycling advocacy group that will provide the same function as the
subcommittee, yet be outside INCOG. By necessity, this must be
a representative organization. There will be a planning meeting
on 12SEP2008 to do the preliminary work. As yet, the venue
has not been established. All interested parties are invited to attend.
This message will go out to all current BAG members as well as
area clubs and organizations.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Highway Statistics

The NHTSA announced a significant reduction in highway fatalities. In 2007, there were 41,o59 motorists killed on our roads, a decline of 3.9% from the previous year. Injuries also declined by 3.3% to 2,491.000. (Report pdf)

Motorcycle fatalities continued their 10 year increase, with an increase of 6.6% in fatalities and 17% in injuries.

Cyclists (or pedalcyclists as NHTSA calls us) saw a decline of 9.6% in fatalities and 2.3% in injuries.

“Thanks to safer vehicles, aggressive law enforcement and our efforts, countless families were spared the devastating news that a loved one was not coming home last year...You can be sure that we’re not stopping here, the quest is not over until that bottom line number is zero.” .....U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters

I would suspect that people are driving fewer miles and that has an effect on these statistics.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

A Road1 mini-lesson

Matt, one of my co-workers, has decided to take up bicycle commuting. For the first week, he rode his old mountain bike, but quickly discovered that knobby tires and low gearing aren't a 'go fast' combination. He bought a new Specialized road bike.

And I'm answering lots of questions. It's like teaching Road1 5 minutes at a time.

Yesterday he wanted me to look at his tires. He had questions about proper inflation. I did the spiel about keeping tires at the right pressure in order to prevent pinch flats and have the tires last longer. When I looked at his new bike, a prominent bulge jutted out from his back tire. I pointed it out to him and he took the bike into the shop for a replacement.

This morning, he hit a drainage grate and flatted coming in to work. Of course, he doesn't have a pump, spare tube, tire levers, or patch kit. He called his wife to pick him up and get him to work.

It's a teachable moment.

I told him to see that his tire label lines up with the valve hole. Then, when he has a flat, He can use the punctured tube to determine where to look inside the tire. If the puncture is on the outside of the tube at 2 o'clock relative to the valve, for instance, look inside the tire if nothing is apparent on the outside. Sometimes a tiny glass shard or piece of wire will be found inside the tire though there's no obvious hole on the outside.

I warned him about punctures near a mold line in the tube. Even if you carefully sand it down, most patches won't hold air.

I offered to give him a tire boot for those long cuts through a casing. Simply installing a new tube won't get you home because it pushes out through the cut and punctures immediately. I told him that he could boot a tire with an old piece of another tire, a length of duct tape, or even a dollar bill if it's not wet.

He bought a floor pump, so I ran him through the ABC Quick check. A = air. Check your tire pressure because they leak down quickly, sometimes overnight. B = brakes. There should be a finger's width of space between the brake lever and handlebars when the brakes are fully applied. If it hits the bar, the brakes need to be adjusted. C = chain and cranks. See that the chain is in place, and pedal very gently at first to see that nothing is misaligned. Finally, Q = quick releases. Put them in the same place every time so you can see at a glance that they're still closed.

Gosh, we're having fun!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Task force meeting re: Transportation Advisory Board

Task Force Meeting re Transportation Advisory Board


Tulsa City Hall

What lead to this meeting was an email from Paul Tay, stating that the new transportation committee had no cycling representative. I sent an email to all the city councilors saying that with gas prices increasing, and all the usual boilerplate, it would be a good idea to have a cyclist on the board.

One of the councilors said that we need to get more casual, recreational cyclists onto area roadways, but there was no discussion of how to implement this, and that's the hard part. Rich Brierre was generally supportive and gave a balanced view of the conflict between the facilities and education crowds. There was near-universal agreement that more education is desirable, but again, nothing on how to implement that idea. The real nuts-and-bolts will be worked out in the Transportation Advisory Board. We will not have a seat there, though Councilor Bynum said he would be our voice. There was some discussion of a cyclist's right to use the public roads.

So what follows are my rough notes from that meeting. For clarity, I've tried to group comments around common topics, so this is not representative of the actual sequence of events. Each of us spoke in turn, addressing other's comments, so the minute-by-minute version is harder to follow.

One of the first comments was a quote from a previous meeting, where a motorist said, "I don't drive on your bike routes so don't ride on my streets!" There's a lot of ignorance to overcome. Some people really believe that bicycles don't belong.

Paul Tay had a draft resolution declaring all streets and roadways as bicycle routes and all lanes as bike lanes. The intent is to treat cyclists as drivers of vehicles.

Bicyclists have an intense interest in safe streets. In Tulsa, 28% do not have motor vehicles. "Skilled bicyclists have demonstrated the efficacy and the safety of bicycle driving on major roadways and expressways without causing deaths or injuries." He said people are intimidated from using streets and seek safe routes away from traffic. Tay says bikes to be mixed in with traffic and it's necessary to educate motorists who do not know the law.

Councilor Bynum wants to have bikes as official vehicles for trips of less than 5 miles. The draft resolution is an expression of intent. Tulsa's mandatory sidepath ordinance was repealed, yet it's apparent that some officials, law enforcement professionals, cyclists, and motorists are unaware of it.

Tulsa will establish a Transportation Advisory Board as part of the upcoming comprehensive street plan. The city is still interested in getting Bicycling Friendly City status from the League of American Bicyclists. I said that Tulsa is already a bicycling friendly city because most motorists are already very accommodating toward cyclists. One councilor disagreed that Tulsa is a bicycling friendly city. He said that more people would ride if they weren't intimidated by motorists. “We rely too much on the Wheelmen, and not enough on casual bicyclists.” When he's been on the road, it's not unusual to get brushed by a mirror. He believes Avery Drive is a decent ride with its wide shoulders. Brian Potter disagreed about Avery due to gravel, debris, and other maintenance issues. Rich Brierre said that the first BFC application was rejected because Tulsa does not have many miles of bike lanes, and he noted that the establishment of such lanes is a controversial issue among cyclists.

I listed improvements on my wish list:

Bicycling master plan. It can be narrow or broad. Models are available from other cities. The usual approach is to bring in a consultant with expertise.

Remove “as far right as practicable” ordinance. I'd like to see it go away, but it's hazardous due to unintended consequences. The “slow vehicles drive in right lane” applies equally to cyclists. “As far right as practicable” leads to harassment and road rage.

BFC. As noted above, Tulsa is already a bicycling friendly city. All we just have to do is say so. There is a small town feel that we should promote.

Acknowledge that cyclists are encouraged and expected to use the streets. We need to get this message out to people.

I used an analogy. “Do you remember learning how to drive and how frightening it was? New cyclists have the same fear, much of it stemming from the unknown. That fear is the biggest element preventing people from riding on the street.” We could use more education for both cyclists and motorists.

One councilor noted, “It doesn't matter where you ride (within the lane) someone is going to send you a message - get off my street!”

We can improve the transportation system for casual cyclists. Brian recommended Street Smarts and gave Councilor Bynum a copy. He noted that the Oklahoma Drivers Manual (pdf) has a good section for motorists on how to drive around cyclists.

Another councilor noted that on the city's bike trails, frequent and busy intersections provide interruptions. Some intersections are difficult and hazardous when crossing.

Gary Parker noted, “Things are challenging for both motorists and cyclists, but in a general way, when I ride my bike as a vehicle I get treated pretty much like a vehicle.”

Paul Tay noted that a bicycle friendly city like Boulder has bike lanes. We do not have that here.

Paul mentioned the 4 Es: Encouragement, Engineering, Enforcement, and Education. He wants to see this discussion continue in in the Transportation Advisory Board. At present there is no capital spending on part of city on bicycling. There is nothing in the streets package for bicycle facilities. Paul noted that there are no cyclists on the board. Councilor Bynum said that we do have a voice there because he and the other councilors represent us.

Ren Barger talked about the Tulsa Wheelmen's Community Cycling Project and the mention of it in Urban Tulsa. She's working to establish a bicycling 'hub' in the downtown area in order to address problems with gentrification and to maintain a pedestrian perspective. CCP will function to rehab transients in getting jobs. The program has been successful since it's inception under Sandra Crisp. Ren sees the hub providing vehicular cycling classes, instruction in fabrication and repair, information on sustainable lifestyles. She noted that the other E is Example. As more cyclists take to the roads, it's easier to change motorist's attitudes. Knowing cyclist's rights and providing support is a key issue. Ren also noted that the local cycling instructors will assist with the Kid's Challenge events at the Tulsa Tough over the next three years.

Rich Brierre noted that at one time the city had a bicycling ordinance that was contrary to state law. The city's mandatory side path law resulted in TPD issuing tickets to cyclists on adjacent roadways. The law specifically read “bicycle trails” yet no trails for the exclusive use of cyclists existed. All are mixed use or multi use trails. He noted the apparent ignorance of state laws when a Keifer officer stopped a group ride and insisted they ride single file, “according to state law.” No such law exists. Tulsa has made significant strides. A comprehensive bicycle master plan a positive idea and it may range from minimal to substantial with costs directly related. Tulsa's on-street routes provide connectivity between neighborhoods and popular destinations. The plan favored neighborhood streets over arterials. He noted that new roadway construction requires a 14 ft wide outer lane, so sharing side by side with motor vehicles is possible. Brian asked about measurements? “Is that from the curb to the lane line? If so, the lane is narrower as the gutter area is unusable due to debris and storm drains.” The old standard was much narrower. Some streets were constructed in the 1920s and 30s, and they were 9' or 10'. Rich reiterated that LAB BFC status was denied for bike lanes, and again noted the divide within bike community. The city chose to use designated routes rather than lanes, where promoting road sharing is extremely important. It's critical to educate motorists and get the word out that sharing the road is something they should do. Three-eights of all trips are less than 2 miles so encouraging using a bicycle for those trips is important. The proposed resolution may reference expressways and may be effected by state law or other city ordinances. It must be approached carefully. Better educated cyclists and motorists are important. Rich expressed dismay at encountering cyclists without helmets, or riding against traffic, but he noted that some were told to ride that way years ago.

I invited the councilors to our Road1 Class at end of August, saying that I thought I was a skilled experienced cyclist until I took that course. I learned some new things. Gary said that uncertainty is not desirable. You don't want uncertainty. Be predictable. We teach that. Predictability is the whole point of traffic law. 'Practicable' is ambiguous.

Paul Tay said there no statutory definition of bike route or bike lane in Tulsa. The state does not have such a definition either, though OKC does. This is another subject to address in the master plan.

Brian noted that Rich's account of being pulled over in Keifer happens to bicyclist all the time and they do not differentiate between different communities. This is another application of model cycling laws. Tulsa could be the model for every other community in the state. The patchwork nature of local laws may inhibit people from cycling.

Gary said that INCOG could communicate this to member governments. “Bicyclists are full, taxpaying citizens like anyone else, though we're a little slow. Motorists successfully pass slow or stopped vehicles all the time.”

Councilor Gomez, a cyclist, noted that he's had plenty of bottles thrown at him, been doored, etc. “so as far right as practicable makes sense to me, but I'm going to control that lane. We have 3 asphalt overlays, storm grates, so to me as far right as practicable means about 5 feet from the curb.” Potholes are significant.

Councilor Bynum said that there seemed to be consensus regarding the resolution clarifying city laws about bike routes and lanes, and that a bicycling master plan should be part of the Transportation Advisory Board.

Councilor Eagleton, a former triathlete, said that bicyclists do not respect rules of the road by impeding traffic. Brian noted that Tulsa spends hundreds of thousands of dollars installing traffic calming to reduce speeds, yet cyclists do that for free.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Common motorist rants...

I read this yesterday on Austin Cycling News and it links to the original post on Bike Forums. ChezJfrey covered each point, refuting them one by one. His Bike Forum post is quite long, so I didn't include it here. Believe me, it's worth reading and well worth keeping for those inevitable letters to the editor that crop up in the spring and summer.

I sent the link to our local advocacy list and Gary Parker responded. His piece follows the highlights from ChezJfrey.


Look at some of the “arguments” presented by motorists in these types of “discussions” about why cyclists die:

1. “…he [/she] was probably one of those jerks that ride in the street.” and “Highways and roads are for motorized vehicles only.” and “Cyclists block the road.”

2. “All I am saying is if you do something dangerous (jump out of an airplane, ride my bike in the road where big cars are) then you should accept the consequences.” and “You ride on the street, you risk your life, simple as that.”

3. “Motorists have paid for the roads through gas taxes, registration fees, and other taxes and fees. Cyclists in traffic are a danger and seem to feel they have a right. Let them start registering and paying for road permits so lanes can be built for them. Streets are for cars.”

4. “It is very simple, give them a license plate, and they will be forced to abide by the law, or face tickets and fines.” “Cyclists do not have the same accountability as drivers. If you drive a car like a complete moron people can call and report you, and it is possible you will pay the price later on, can the same be said for cyclists?”

5. “It is illegal for bicyclists to run stop signs and signals; it’s illegal for them to swerve in and out of traffic; but that doesn’t stop them from doing it.”

6. “Why is it necessary to ride on the busy streets downtown when you can go 2 blocks in either direction and ride on a smaller side street without all the cars?”

The matter really goes right back to the fact that the average, urban/suburban driver just doesn’t want ANYONE in their way when THEY are on the road. Any deviation from the “zoom, zoom” fantasy that requires an extra turn of the wheel or a push on the brake pedal before the trip is through aggravates and irritates the motorist. The stupidity lies in the fact that these motorists encounter thousands of other motorists clogging the streets and crushing their dreams every day and the occasional, skinny bicyclist is to blame for the entire mess and that goddamn cyclist has a death wish about to come true!

Stupid people don’t embrace education, so that approach is doomed to failure.

(I don't agree that education is futile because we know that other two legs of the advocacy triad, engineering and enforcement, are insufficient by themselves in changing individual behavior. But that's a subject for another time......Ed)

This is from Gary:

Bicycling and Taxes

With gas prices, temperatures and tempers rising, bikes and cars seem to be coming into greater conflict.

A common complaint by motorists is bikes aren't registered or taxed, and should have no right to the road.

Our friends at the Texas Bicycle Coalition figured out that bicyclists are actually subsidizing motorists.

Follow this:

- 95% of cycling adults own automobiles, and they pay registration and fuel taxes, for an average of $700 a year per car.

- It costs cities and counties over $1100 per vehicle per year to maintain streets and roads.

- The extra $400 comes from the government's general funds, which are sales, property and income taxes.

These taxes are paid by everyone, including the 5% of cyclists who don't own cars. Even renters indirectly pay property taxes.

Given that most of us drive our cars more miles per year than we ride our bikes, we're paying about 50 times more per mile traveled than a motorist.

In Oklahoma we pay about 35 cents a gallon in taxes on gasoline, a few cents less for diesel. That is not a sales tax. Even as the price of gas goes up, the tax remains the same. If road costs were truly reflected in the price of gas, we'd be paying over $6 a gallon for gas today.

So the next time you're confronted with the "taxes" issue as it relates to bicyclists on public roads, you've got the answer. They are taxpayers and even if they were not, they would still have access to public roads, because they are public roads.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Six Myths about Bicycle Commuting

Please bear with me for a moment...

I've been reading a lot about writing. It's a self-help effort. Much has been contradictory. For instance, one site said if you want to write better, concentrate on writing. But if you want to read, simply read. Another site says that reading is essential to becoming a better writer. I tend to agree with the latter. As an example, Isaac Asimov wrote several books every year on a variety of subjects. He wrote through the morning, had lunch, and then went to the library for research every afternoon.

I don't have Azimov's work ethic, not about writing, anyway. But I think that reading is a means of igniting the imagination and spinning off new ideas. It happened with the following piece, a straightforward discussion of misconceptions about bicycle commuting. I was in the middle of responding when it struck me that there's a necessity for a related but more detailed post about buying a used bicycle. I like it when that happens.

I did my best to avoid all the nuts-and-bolts about writing when I was in school. Even now, I can't tell you what a sumerian presumptional disfirmative is, or how to use it properly. (One of our local bicycling advocates is an English instructor. I give him migraines.)

These are excerpts from Adam Voiland's article. Follow the link for the complete one. My comments are interspersed in italics. And if you're wondering why I'm reaching all the way back to May for this, let's just say that my drafts folder is bulging and I want to clear it out.

Six Myths About Commuting by Bicycle

May 15, 2008 05:11 PM ET | Adam Voiland


...Biking is a reliable, safe, fun, and cheap way to get around—and it happens to be good exercise, too. Still, myths about bicycle commuting persist. Here are six I’ve noticed over the years; feel free to add your own in the comments section.

1. It’s too dangerous. Yes, there’s real risk associated with bicycling. Bikers do crash and get hit by cars. But how dangerous is biking in comparison with other forms of transportation and with our perception of the risk? A lot less than you might think.

Consider the calculations of a company that performs safety and failure testing, previously called the Failure Group and now known as Exponent. The company looked at a variety of activities and determined that the number of fatalities per million hours of exposure was 0.26 for biking, 0.47 for driving, 1.53 for living (all causes of death), and 8.80 for motorcycling. In other words, they found that the risks of biking were about half that associated with driving and a sixth of that associated simply with being alive...

Yes, road cycling has some risks, but for the most part they're exaggerated. These risks are offset by the benefits that come from regular exercise: a healthier cardiovascular system, weight loss, and a more positive outlook. So while there are some dangers associated with riding on the street, we're probably at greater risk from that bowl of Cheetos on the arm of the couch. Sedentary lifestyles and poor nutrition choices kill more Americans.

2. It’s too far. The ride might take too long or take too much out of you if you live more than, say, 10 miles from work. But consider ways to expand your potential range. Many commuters, for example, use folding bikes so they can go partway on a commuter train (Swissbike uses technology originally designed for paratroopers to make the Hummer of folding bikes). Within city limits, many municipalities are now allowing bikes on buses or subway cars, too...

A good rule-of-thumb for a new bicycle commuter is to assume a pace of six minutes per mile at first. So a five mile trip should take about 30 minutes. Obviously, a short trip of a mile or two can be completed almost as quickly on a bicycle as it could in a car. My own commute is seven miles by the shortest route, and that takes about 30 minutes give or take a little due to the wind direction. This morning, a mocking bird serenaded along the way, something I'd miss entirely in a car.

3. I'll need an expensive bike. Not true. You should be able to get a new or used bike suitable for basic commuting for less than $500. Find a good, local bike store with a knowledgeable staff (not, in other words, one of the big-box stores), explain the terrain and length of commute you’re considering, and they'll help you choose the appropriate frame and number of gears you’ll need. In fact, Eric Doyne of Shimano’s public relations team tells me that “lifestyle” bikes—designed for everyday, casual riders as opposed to the high-performance racing or mountain bikes designed for enthusiasts—are huge growth areas for the bike industry right now...

Bike shops are seeing a lot of dusty old bikes rolling in for repairs as gas prices increase. This is a sensible idea because bicycles are fairly durable and there are many usable old bikes tucked away in garages and attics. But if you simply must have a new bike, visit a reputable local shop rather than a big discount store. A good shop will see that a bike fits you properly – absolutely key to long term comfort – and they'll provide service after the sale. This too is important because many new bikes go out of adjustment in the first month or two of use. This is normal.

There's always the possibility of buying a used bicycle, saving a significant amount of money while acquiring an excellent bike, but unless you're a skilled mechanic or very experienced at evaluating the potential flaws in older, used machines, I would recommend avoiding this unless you buy from a local shop. Bike shops usually won't take abused machines in trade. It's just too expensive to refurbish them. You'll pay more at a shop than you would at a flea market or garage sale, but it's likely you'll get a perfectly serviceable bike.

The used market can be rewarding or disastrous, but now that I'm thinking about it, I'll probably have something on buying used bikes in the next day or so.

4. It's impossible to carry the stuff I need. If this is what you think, you’re toting way more than the average person to work or you don’t have the right bag or features on your bike. A good basket or touring panniers will mean you can easily carry a computer, change of clothes, lunch, a few books, a slew of folders, and whatever other gadgets you regularly carry. Take a look at this bike and this pannier bag set if you’re looking for inspiration...

There are many ways to haul essentials. Rucksacks, messenger bags, panniers, and baskets will all do the job. Some people drive to work once a week with their work clothes. Then they can ride on the other days unencumbered by baggage. My rule-of-thumb is to use the smallest bag possible, because any 'extra' space will be filled with some unnecessary item that adds weight and bulk.

5. There’s nowhere to shower. Jeff Peel of the League of American Bicyclists says that many people do worry about this, but that there are numerous alternatives beyond simply showing up at the office smelly and sweaty. First, check to make sure that your building doesn’t have a shower somewhere. Mine does. If it doesn’t, check nearby gyms or fitness clubs. Many offer shower-only memberships for bike or running commuters. If you’re still striking out, Peel says, it’s amazing how far you can get with a sponge bath in a regular bathroom. Baby wipes work like a charm...

I read an account by a would-be bicycle commuter who bewailed the fact that there was no shower facility waiting at the end of his two mile commute. I'll just put this baldly – Americans worry entirely too much about sweat and the resultant body odor. A short commute at a relaxed pace will not end with you arriving at work reeking, not if you bathe regularly, anyway. There may be one aspect of 'Copenhagen style' cycling that I find appealing, and that's the emphasis on bicycling as a 'fast walking.' Riding a bike simply saves time over walking the same distance, and it can be done in stylish, fashionable clothes. But with that one caveat, I'll return now to my usual loathing of Copenhagen style.

6. Biking will make me impotent. This is a charge that has circulated since the late 1990s, and there’s a kernel of truth to it. There is evidence that serious bike riders can experience temporary and even long-lasting erectile dysfunction if they log lots of hours on a racing seat that doesn’t fit properly. But there are now plenty of seats like this one with ergonomically designed cutaway grooves that take the pressure off the key arteries and nerves. And if you really want to play it safe, there are noseless saddles, too. As long as your saddle fits correctly and you don’t ride as much as somebody training for the Tour de France, biking is more apt to reduce your odds of erectile dysfunction than raise them, since the exercise will help keep cardiovascular disease—a major cause of erectile dysfunction—at bay...

By the age of 70, about 50% of men are impotent. The infamous study that supposedly linked bicycle saddles and erectile dysfunction was a statistical study of these elderly ED patients. A doctor noted that in almost all cases, these men had ridden bicycles in their youth. While interesting, the study suffers from the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy. Correlation is not causation, yet in another triumph of marketing over science, new saddles suddenly arrived on store shelves, saddles with holes. Can't have Mr. Happy going all saggy, you know. If you're the type who obsesses over these things, I have hundreds of emails offering generic Viagra in my spam folder. I can forward them to you.

Voiland included this:

"And, until more bike infrastructure is built (and it should be as it improves biker safety, too)..."

The advocacy groups who endorse ever increasing miles of bike lanes would have us believe those lanes enhance our safety. Yet studies like the one conducted in Copenhagen show that adding bike lanes to existing streets and eliminating parking merely moves collisions between cyclists and motor vehicles to the intersections. In other words, crashes decreased at mid-block but increased disproportionately at intersections. Bike lane proponents simply ignore this because it doesn't fit into their preconceived assumptions.

Infrastructure is not a substitute for an educated, experienced bicyclist, just as very safe interstate highways do not absolve a driver of responsibility for his own safety. That's another myth perpetuated by the facilities advocacy groups - that even inexperienced riders can safely use a bike lane.

Don't misunderstand me - I'm not against the idea of multi-use paths or trails, but I'm very much opposed to the fear mongering conducted by some of the advocacy groups. An engineer once told me, “Nothing will be foolproof until we run out of fools.” Sure, it was facetious, but there's a kernel of truth too. We know we cannot build facilities that are utterly foolproof. Instead, we should be focusing on building better cyclists, with the knowledge to use any roadway in safety regardless of the presence or absence of bike lanes. If we can do that, the whole bike lane issue becomes moot.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Velib problems

This is the first major problem I've heard of with the Velib system in Paris. I'm not aware of any similar problems with Tulsa's first-in-the-nation Tulsa Townies, or the new Rack & Roll system. Still, I have to wonder about the long-term viability of a plan that's lost over 25% of their bicycles. They want to expand the system into the suburbs, but if losses are this high, how can they afford replacements?

Thieves ride off with 3,000 of Paris's free bicycles

Thursday, 17 July 2008

The self-service, Parisian bike-for-hire – the vĂ©lib' – was intended mostly for short rides when it was introduced 12 months ago, reports The Independent.

More than 3,000 of the sturdy grey bicycles have gone missing since then. Some have turned up as far away as Romania and, according to one report, Australia. Another 3,000 have been deliberately destroyed or damaged. But the 16,000 bikes in circulation have proved extremely popular.


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Trail Etiquette: a primer

(Image copyright Spencer Hill. Used by permission.)

I was running along the trail and this cyclist came by really fast and close without any warning.

This is probably the most common complaint – fast riders in 'stealth' mode. Cyclists should use a bell or loudly announce “Passing on your left!” as they approach pedestrians. Unfortunately, if a cyclist yells “On your left!” some pedestrians will turn and step to their left to see what's behind them, moving directly into a cyclist's intended path. Be aware that pedestrians can change direction or stop in the space of a single step.

For pedestrians – walk on the right and be aware of overtaking cyclists.

I was walking my dog, Fluffy, on a 20 foot long leash. It one of those retractable ones so I can keep control of Fluffy, yet allow her to romp a bit. She was on the other side of the trail when some cyclists started swearing at me for letting her roam like that. They could slow down and wait until she's done.

Children and dogs are often unpredictable. Be especially cautious when approaching them. Be prepared to brake or dodge, if necessary. Think of it as an opportunity to hone your mad cyclocross skillz. And please resist the impulse to skewer wayward dogs or their owners with a frame pump, halberd, or samurai sword. It's just not very polite.

For dog-walkers – while Fluffy may be utterly adorable, a 20 foot leash stretched across a multi use path is not. If a cyclist hits it at speed, there's a very good chance that he will crash. There's also a good chance that Fluffy could be injured. Be responsible for your pet and show some consideration for other trail users by keeping your animal on a short leash while on the trail.

Some deaf and blind guy was walking along the trail using his white cane for guidance when a cyclist yelled at him. Didn't do any good, that I could see.

While this is an obvious exaggeration, there are some pedestrians who simply will not see or hear any cyclists around them. Never assume a walker has seen you or knows of your presence, even if you're approaching them from the front. With so many people listening to music via headphones, it's a near-certainty that you'll encounter someone completely oblivious to all those other people on the trail.

For cyclists – wearing headphones in traffic is dangerous and illegal. Being safe on the road entails using all your senses, and that's no less true on the trails. Do not wear headphones.

My wife and I were showing her mom and dad the lovely River Park trail. We walked side-by-side in order to talk to one another and we were in mid- conversation when some cyclist yelled, “On your left!” Well, we looked over to our left but there was nothing to see. He yelled again, then went off the trail into the grass to go around us. When he got back onto the pavement, he yelled something about getting your fat ass over. I don't know why he'd pick on my mother-in-law that way. Her ass isn't that fat.

On your left” is the standard way of announcing you're about to overtake and pass another cyclist. Unfortunately, some pedestrians hear this and will step to the left and turn around to see who or what is behind them. They step directly into the path of a cyclist. As noted above, say “Passing on your left” as a better way to make your intent known.

A better alternative is to yell, “Passing!” Most, though not all, peds understand what this means. Some cyclists use a bell as a warning device, but bells are no longer required by Tulsa ordinances.

For pedestrians – use the trail sensibly. If you're walking in a group, allow some space to the left for others to pass. Taking the full width of the trail is rude and irresponsible.

My friends and I were skating on the trail, just bopping along and listening to some tunes on our iPods, when a bunch of cyclists passed us really close. They never said a word – not that we could have heard them anyway.

Passing skaters on a narrow trail is difficult. Their zig-zag course can make it hard to predict when it's safe to pass. Just like children, the elderly, dogs, or people with diminished mental capacity, skaters are capable of suddenly moving into the path of a cyclist and causing a crash. Be wary when approaching them.

For skaters – turn down the tunes so you can hear others around you, and be prepared to coast for a moment while a cyclist passes. It's both courteous and safe – for both of you.

I have a suggestion that may improve relations between cyclists and pedestrians on crowded trails. We need bigger pedestrians so there's no mismatch in energy. Kinetic energy is equal to the product of mass and velocity squared, so if a 200 lb bicycle and rider moving at 10 mph were to collide with a 550 pound pedestrian moving at 6 mph, they'll have approximately the same KE. The only problem I can see is in finding a 550 pound pedestrian capable of moving at 6 mph. Maybe if we could get two 225 pound pedestrians to move in lockstep...

Ah,a phalanx of pedestrians moving as a unit. Give them some brass instruments, drums, and snappy uniforms, and we'd have a marching band. Better yet, give them kilts and bag pipes. Nobody messes with guys in skirts playing the pipes.

OK, much of the above is facetious, but there are some serious points. Let's consider them:

(Gary added some points I missed)

1. The most important consideration is: "ALL TRAIL USERS STAY TO THE RIGHT" Yep, pedestrians, bicyclists, roller bladers, strollers, dog walkers, all trail users stay the right. Yes this is different than the street where pedestrians walk against traffic and bicyclists, since they are traffic on a vehicle, go with traffic.

2. Whenever approaching other trail users move to a single file line.

3. On a trail walk dogs to the right! Yes this is different than dog training, but that is because when you walk a dog on the streets since you are on the left the traffic is on the right and you don't want little Fluffy running in front of a car. On a trail you walk on the right. You walk Fluffy on the right as well. You don't want Fluffy to run in front of a cyclist or a roller blader. Besides the land is on the right of the trail and Fluffy loves running along the ground.


Riding on trails is the same as riding on a sidewalk and on sidewalks cyclists must yield to pedestrians. Tulsa's River Park trails have a suggested speed limit of 10 mph. Any reasonably fit cyclist can exceed this, of course, so be courteous and safety minded when overtaking peds. Please be courteous, and stay particularly alert if there are children or pets nearby.


For pedestrians - there's more to this than simply unplugging the iPod or turning off the cell phone. It's a basic safety issue whenever we're out in public. Be aware of your surroundings. Be alert for the unexpected. Be alert for suspicious people or objects. This isn't an attempt to make you paranoid, just wary. Criminals exploit people who aren't paying attention or are otherwise distracted. Likewise, in a traffic mix with people moving at different speeds, it pays to stay alert.

For cyclists – make others aware of your presence and intention of passing. Use a bell, or shout, “Passing on your left!” Just as pedestrians have to be aware of overtaking cyclists, cyclists themselves have to be aware of other bicyclists moving at higher speeds. Watch your six.


Trails are shared public spaces that belong to all of us. Please don't leave trash behind. Treat other trail users as you would wish to be treated.

And finally...

Since I'm not all-wise and all-knowing, I probably missed a few things. Please feel free to point out my deficiencies in comments!