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.