The *People Powered Movement Photo Contest* addresses a critical need for
bicycle and pedestrian advocacy organizations. Bicycle and pedestrian
advocates need high-quality images of biking and walking to make their
campaigns and communications both professional and engaging. Our nationwide
contest builds our online Photo
which provides hundreds of images for Alliance members to download and use
at no cost. Support grassroots advocacy by submitting your best biking and
walking photos for use in the Alliance’s photo library. Enter the 2011
People Powered Movement Photo Contest!
*You could win:*
- An all-expense-paid trip to Tuscany from VBT Bicycling and Walking
- A new bicycle from PUBLIC Bikes <http://publicbikes.com/>
- Bags from Ortlieb <http://www.ortliebusa.com/>
- Great products from Planet Bike <http://www.planetbike.com/>
- Helmets from Bern <http://www.bernunlimited.com/>
- *Bikes Are Better* products and gear from
- PLUS, winning photos will be published in Momentum
The contest runs from August 1 to October 31, 2011.
- Online photo submissions will be accepted from August 1 to September
- Public voting will open October 1 and close October 31.
- Winners will be announced in early 2012.
Official 2011 People Powered Movement Photo Contest Terms And Conditions
1. *The People Powered Movement Photo Contest is open to all*. Eligible
photos must be related to biking and walking and be generic in nature or
taken in North America.
2. Entrants must provide contact information (valid e-mail address and
name) to be eligible to win.
3. To be eligible, participants must enter each image in at least one of
the following seven categories. The Alliance reserves the right to switch
images to other categories. (See Photos page for full descriptions of each
3. *Biking and walking*
4. *Open Streets*
5. *Advocates in Action*
7. *Diversity / Building an Inclusive Movement*
4. Each individual is eligible to submit up to 20 photos.
5. Photographs must be in digital format. No print or film submissions
will be accepted for entry into this Contest
6. All digital files must be 5 megabytes or smaller, must be in JPEG or
.jpg format, and must be at least 300 dpi (dots per inch or pixels per inch)
7. All images must be digitally uploaded. We do not accept mailed or
8. Entrants retain their ownership and other rights to their photos, but
they grant the Alliance for Biking & Walking and its member organizations
use of the photos for any and all purposes related to charitable work
promoting bicycling and walking.
9. Digital Alterations: All photographs should accurately reflect the
subject matter and the scene as it appeared. Photos that have been digitally
altered beyond standard optimization will be disqualified. Acceptable are
adjustments to color, contrast, brightness and sharpness; removal of dust
and scratches; cropping; and black and white conversions.
10. No photos will be returned.
11. *Contest runs from midnight Eastern Standard Time (EST) August 1,
2011 to 11:59 pm EST September 30, 2011 during which contest participants
can submit photos. DEADLINE: The final date and time for submitting photos
is 11:59 pm EST, September 30, 2011.* To avoid uploading delays, please
do not wait until the final days of the contest to enter. Large number of
entrants trying to upload their photos just prior to the deadline may cause
unforeseen technical problems.
12. Voting period runs from October 1, 2011 to October 31, 2011, during
which contest participants are able to vote for their favorite photos.
13. Contest winners will be announced in March 2012, and prizes will be
distributed soon thereafter.
[snipped from http://8-80cities.org/ August e-newsletter]
*Effect of 20 mph traffic speed zones on road injuries in London* by Chris
Grundy et al. in the British Medical Journal
Road injuries are among the leading causes of mortality and disability
worldwide, disproportionately borne by poor pedestrians, particularly
children and young adults. Chris Grundy and his colleagues from the London
School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine investigate the effect of 20 mph (32
kph) speed zones on road casualties in London. They found that the
introduction of 20 mph zones was associated with a 41.9% reduction in road
casualties and that the percentage reduction was greatest in younger
children and greater for the category of killed or seriously injured. In
addition the researchers found that the areas adjacent to 20 mph zones, also
had a reduction in casualties (8%) suggesting that there was no migration of
casualties to nearby roads.
Read the full article
** please share widely! **
Leisure Guide cycling courses available in September!
*city cycling for beginners*
Do you want to ride your bike more often but just don’t feel safe? Do you
want to teach your kids how to cycle safely? Can-Bike certified instructors
from Bike to the Future will help you build both the knowledge and
confidence to start riding on the streets and trails in Winnipeg. The course
is endorsed by the Manitoba Cycling Association and each participant will
receive a copy of the 2011 Winnipeg Cycling Map.
*Fort Rouge Leisure Centre: 625 Osborne St.*
*401595 Sat Sep 17 Noon–4:00pm*
** * * * *
*city cycling for commuters*
new! Would you like to start commuting but are uncomfortable on busier
streets? Are you already commuting, but want to learn the cycling skills
that will allow you to ride safely in heavier traffic? Certified Can-Bike
instructors from Bike to the Future will help you build the skills and
knowledge to ride confidently in traffic. The course is endorsed by the
Manitoba Cycling Association and each participant will receive a copy of the
2011 Winnipeg Cycling Map.
*Sport for Life Centre:145 Pacific Ave.*
*401594 Sat Sep 24 Noon–4:00pm*
Sorry I didn't manage to get these handouts sent out prior to the
webinar last Wednesday (I've been sending messages to the list from the
wrong email account). For those who would like to browse through the
slides and handouts from that informative webinar, here
<http://www.apbp.org/?page=Webinar_Downloads> they are.
Mark October 19th, 2011 into your calendars, as Green Action Centre and
Bike to the Future will be hosting the the APBP webinar, Multimodal
Level of Service, on Wednesday October 19th, from 2-3pm in the MB
EcoCentre boardroom at 303 Portage Avenue.
Driving the future Master transportation plan to be released in September
By: Jen Skerritt
Forty-one years ago, Winnipeg metro councillor Bernie Wolfe warned cars
would be on a "collision course" with cities unless governments of all
levels sat down and negotiated a planned approach to urban transportation.
At the time, Winnipeg was debating whether or not to move ahead with
recommendations from a 1968 study to build 30 kilometres of freeways and an
8.6-kilometre subway system.
Ultimately, the idea was scrapped, and the city grew to rely on major
routes and traffic signals to keep vehicles flowing.
Winnipeg has been without a long-term transportation plan ever since. Today,
the city faces a similar dilemma: How will it upgrade its existing roadways
and move people from point A to point B?
The city is in the middle of finalizing a $1.15-million transportation
master plan that will identify plans for land use and what future road and
rapid-transit improvements are needed. It is expected to be publicly
released in September and put to a city council vote on Oct. 19.
Some critics worry history may repeat itself, and the plan will not have a
specific vision for Winnipeg’s future.
"Despite efforts and progress, we’re still simply trying to define what the
heck we’re doing with our transportation system," said Jino Distasio,
director of the University of Winnipeg’s Institute of Urban Studies. "I
think it’s going to continue to put us behind other cities that have made
significant strides in creating more integrated systems of transportation."
Road infrastructure plays an important role in safety since it influences
how people travel — via transit or bike lanes, for example — and how they
interact with pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles on the road.
Winnipeg is in a similar bind to other Canadian cities since it is trying to
balance the need to fix and maintain existing roads and bridges while
investing in major upgrades to transit and active transportation.
Public works director Brad Sacher said roads and bridges built in the 1950s
and 1960s are nearing the end of their lifespan. There is a need for
significant rehabilitation of Winnipeg’s infrastructure in general, as well
as for new infrastructure in response to growth in parts of the city.
"It is a difficult balancing act and it’s a real challenge," Sacher said.
Department staff have reviewed things such as traffic flow, collision data,
transit patterns and active-transportation corridors to determine how people
and goods move across the city, Sacher said. That way, the city can
anticipate future growth and set aside space for things such as
intersections and rights-of-way, instead of spending more money on costly
road upgrades later, he said.
The master plan will be "flexible," he said, and could prevent situations in
which construction of major road infrastructure is required to catch up with
development, such as along south Kenaston.
"That’s a situation where it went from being a rail yard in the past to a
very desirable location," Sacher said. "The trick in the longer term is to
be out in front of as many development opportunities as possible so you can
be as efficient as possible in planning them."
Intersections are likely to need improvements before roadways since safety
issues often arise when vehicle volumes increase.
Winnipeg public works staff use engineering software tools to analyze how
many vehicles travel through an intersection, the types of vehicles,
pedestrian activity, traffic-signal timing and side-street traffic volumes
to see what improvements can be made and what impact any improvements may
One of the big fixes being made to the city’s intersection stop-and-go
problem is taking a long time to complete.
Mayor Sam Katz made synchronizing traffic signals an election pledge in
2006, but a recent audit found no workers are dedicated to the $11.5-million
project, despite the fact it would improve safety and the flow of cars.
Lights have not been synched in 80 intersections downtown, and
traffic-signals-branch staff say they are still working on "tweaking" the
timing of lights that have been synched elsewhere in the city. The project
might not be done until 2013.
Traffic signals engineer Michael Cantor said part of the difficulty is
traffic flow is always changing, and even a five-second interval can make a
difference between hitting a stretch of red or a stretch of green lights.
Timing patterns will likely have to be updated every few years, he said.
The city has hired an Ontario-based consulting firm to prepare a plan to
time intersections based on speed, traffic volumes, distance between them
and time of day. City staff will implement the timing plans, and the
consultants will make any necessary additional changes.
Engineers are currently trying to gauge how well the synchronization works
on certain routes by comparing travel times before and after implementation.
Cantor said city staff are driving the routes and timing them with a GPS.
"We try to reduce delays and see the traffic going more fluidly."
Some transportation activists are worried governments are spending an
unprecedented amount of money on highways without considering the impact on
cyclists and pedestrians within Winnipeg.
Janice Lukes, head of the province’s active transportation advisory group,
said provincial and federal governments have devoted more than $200 million
to build an expressway for the CentrePort transportation hub but have not
studied the need for active-transportation corridors or pathways as part of
the industrial development.
"Huge opportunities are being missed," Lukes said.
CentrePort CEO Diane Gray said CentrePort has not examined
active-transportation routes yet, but it is something that should be looked
at as the development moves ahead.
"I’m supportive of that because I don’t want to see cyclists riding on
expressways next to large trucks," Gray said. "We need to find a balance
here that makes sense."
However, it’s still too early to predict how many people will travel to work
at the Centre-Port air, rail and truck cargo hub every day and how many more
vehicles could be flowing into Winnipeg, she said, because the numbers
depend on what types of industries want to locate there. In general,
labour-based industries employ more workers, while warehouses or
distribution centres typically employ fewer people, Gray said.
The new expressway is expected to reduce the number of vehicles on the
western stretch of the Perimeter Highway by 5,900 trucks and cars a day and
take pressure off feeder routes such as Oak Point Highway and Saskatchewan
Avenue, she said.
Distasio said what’s really missing in Winnipeg is innovation and
A "car rules the road" mindset still exists among some Winnipeg drivers, he
said, and the city has missed opportunities — such as in the debate
surrounding parking at the new Bomber stadium — to educate the public about
the merits of rapid transit and active transportation.
Distasio said he’s not optimistic the city’s latest plan will outline any
clear vision for the future.
"I’m going to be very interested in whether this comprehensive plan actually
says what it is we’re investing in. BRT (bus rapid transit), LRT (light rail
transit), subways, seaways, tramways, gondolas to St. Vital?" Distasio said.
"Does it actually say something or, for the umpteenth time, are we going to
See a map showing the average number of vehicles that drive on city streets
in a 24-hour period<http://media.winnipegfreepress.com/documents/2009-TrafficFlow-Map.pdf>.
Source: City of Winnipeg public works, 2009
Mapping a way forward for Winnipeg traffic
*What's the city's plan to improve roadways and traffic flow?*
*To figure out a plan:* The city is in the midst of finalizing a
$1.15-million transportation master plan that will identify what future road
and rapid-transit improvements are needed. City officials expect it will be
publicly released in September and put to a city council vote on Oct. 19.
*To finish what we started:* The city is also working to end one of
Winnipeg’s greatest driving frustrations: getting stopped at multiple red
lights on the same stretch of road. While a plan to synchronize traffic
signals is six months behind schedule, city staff say it should be done by
2013. Here’s a look at which routes are done and which ones are scheduled to
be done in the coming years. City staff say they’re still doing some
"tweaks" to get the timing right on intersections that have already been
*Routes that are done:*
Kenaston Boulevard — Academy Road to Scurfield Boulevard
Lagimodiere Boulevard — Headmaster Row to Bishop Grandin Boulevard
Main Street — Euclid Avenue to Fernbank Avenue
St. Anne’s Road — Aldgate Road to St. Mary’s Road
St. Mary’s Road — Burland Avenue to Marion Street/ Goulet Street
Portage Avenue — Vaughan Street to St. Charles Street
Bishop Grandin Boulevard — Lagimodiere Boulevard to Waverley Street
McPhillips Street — Notre Dame Avenue to Templeton Avenue
Pembina Highway — Confusion Corner to Rue des Trappistes
*Routes to by synched this year:*
Henderson Highway — Hespeler Avenue to McIvor Avenue
Grant Avenue/Roblin Boulevard — Pembina Highway to Barker Boulevard/Dale
*DOWNTOWN AREA:* How do we get from A to B? In 2007, the city hired an
outside consulting firm to find out how and where Winnipeggers travel. They
found on a typical weekday, residents in the city made 1,569,470 trips, for
an average of 2.83 trips per person age 11 and older.
Thirty-seven per cent of the daily trips took place between the morning and
afternoon rush-hour periods, and work-related and school trips accounted for
the vast majority — 74 per cent — of all morning travel.
The survey found 81 per cent of trips by Winnipeggers and residents in
surrounding areas — including East St. Paul and Steinbach — were in cars.
Only 10 per cent of all residents walked or cycled to get from A to B.
The downtown core saw the highest influx of people in the morning rush-hour
period. About 16 per cent of all trips in the city in the morning period are
to the downtown, more than to any other part of Winnipeg.
Winnipeg Free Press Letter to the Editor
One step further (Aug.20'11)
Re:* Mayor hopes to reduce speeds in school
*(Aug. 17). Mayor Sam Katz should be commended on his leadership in taking
the initiative toward making our communities safer around schools. But why
not take it one step further and reduce the speed limit to 30 kilometres per
hour throughout residential neighbourhoods?
This would make the entire community safer for everyone, whether you are
eight years old or 80. This is especially salient when one considers the
World Health Organization statistic that "pedestrians have a 90 per cent
chance of survival when struck by a car travelling at 30 km/h or below, but
less than a 50 per cent chance of surviving an impact at 45 km/h and almost
no chance of surviving an impact at 80 km/h."
Letter of the day: Speed is biggest danger
Re:* Walking, cycling can be
* (Aug. 15). Thank you to Jen Skerritt and the *Free Press* for raising this
important public health issue. Motor vehicle collisions (MVCs) are the
leading killer of children, teens and young adults in Canada.
As the article points out, this tragedy is magnified by the fact that there
are a number of relatively simple interventions to reduce injury and death
from MVCs. Speed more than any other factor predicts the chance of injury
and death in a MVC. According to the World Health Organization:
- An increase in speed of one kilometre per hour results in a three per
cent higher risk of a crash involving injury and a four to five per cent
increase in crashes that result in death.
- The likelihood of death is 20 times greater for a car occupant in a
crash with an impact speed of 80 km/h compared with 30 km/h.
- Pedestrians struck by a car travelling 30 km/h have a 90 per cent
chance of survival, which drops to 50 per cent at 45 km/h. Pedestrians have
almost no chance of surviving an impact at 80 km/h.
Obeying posted speed limits and exercising due caution, along with sustained
and visible enforcement and environmental controls such as speed bumps to
encourage reduced speeds, can significantly reduce the risk of motor vehicle
collisions that injure and kill.
DR. MICHAEL ROUTLEDGE
Winnipeg Regional Health Authority
Do the health benefits of cycling outweigh the safety risks? by Julia
August 17, 2011
*The Statement: * “To be sure, cycling provides good exercise, but there are
safer ways to get it. [...] Second, bike riding here is not as
environmentally virtuous as it’s cracked up to be.”—*Montreal
* story was prompted by a series of five very sad cycling fatalities in
Montreal this year, “an unusually high death toll,” the writer lamented,
before going on to list myriad downsides related to cycling in the urban
environment. The *Winnipeg Free
a similarly disturbing article, which noted that in the last 18
months, 29 people have died on Winnipeg streets in car crashes, and 18 of
them were pedestrians or cyclists. The *Winnipeg Free Press* article’s
message was as clear and pedantic as its title: “Walking, cycling can be
likewise called for safer cycling. They note that while biking is good
exercise, the government needs to invest in cycling infrastructure, such as
purpose-built bike lanes, to make commuting on two wheels safer. The
provincial NDP in Ontario offered another (seemingly unlikely and impossible
to enforce) solution to the problem of cars and bikes mingling dangerously
on the road: they
the Highway Traffic Act so motorists can be fined for crossing a
one-metre buffer with cyclists.
But what is the evidence behind these proposed cycling policies? And if
cycling is as dangerous as these news articles purport, do the health
benefits of cycling outweigh the risks? Or should people refrain from biking
on city streets altogether?
I looked at a myth-busting evidence
for the Canadian
National Collaborating Centre for Environmental Health<http://www.ncceh.ca/>.
First, the good news: people who choose “active transport” (walking and
cycling to get around) are, on average, more fit and less overweight and
obese than motor-vehicle users. As well, all-cause mortality,
disease-specific mortality, and cardiovascular risk are lower in this group.
Exercise for transportation is also found to be sustained more consistently
throughout a person’s life than other workouts, such as gym regimes.
Now, the bad news: people who choose active transport face higher risks of
fatality or injury per distance travelled than people who use cars, buses,
or rail, according to the review. A 2003 study published in the *American
Journal of Public Health <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12948971> *found
that the fatality risks per distance travelled for U.S. pedestrians and
cyclists are 23 and 12 times higher, respectively, than for drivers. A
study<http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19540975>that looked at
injury rates for Norwegian pedestrians and cyclists per
distance travelled found they were 4 and 7.5 times higher, respectively,
than for those who travelled by car.
There is no Canadian data on the absolute risk of injury and fatality for
cyclists, but there are a few things we know about how bike accidents happen
here. Transport Canada, which tracks crashes between cyclists and road motor
64 per cent of these deaths occurred on urban roads, and the peak time
for crashes was afternoons and evenings. Bicyclists also make up the
smallest percentage of road fatalities compared to other road users. For
died while biking in 2009 made up 1.9 per cent of fatalities on the
(compared to 53.1 per cent for drivers, 19.5 per cent for passengers, and
13.9 per cent for pedestrians).
Of the risk to Canadians, Kay Teschke, a professor of public health at the
University of British Columbia who studies cycling in cities, told *
Science-ish*, “The fatality rates are about the same for cyclists and
pedestrians, though the numbers of pedestrians killed is much higher,
because more people walk. Of course, the numbers of motor-vehicle fatalities
is much higher than either cycling or walking.” She concluded: “The safest
mode of transport by far is transit—like buses or subways —there’s no
question about it.”
So what would make cyclists safer: bike lanes or a one-metre buffer? Teschke
noted that the evidence shows purpose-built bike lanes seem to be the way to
go. “One of the interesting features that has been found in North American
European-style separated bike lanes are being installed is that this
is not only lowering cyclist crashes, but also pedestrian and motor vehicle
crashes.” She also pointed to European centres where bike-specific
infrastructure is ubiquitous and cycling injury rates are much lower than in
the United States. (See this
American, Dutch, and German cyclists, which shows Americans are twice
likely to get killed as Germans and over 3 times as likely as the Dutch per
kilometer and per trip cycled.)
Other studies from Europe indicate there are large net benefits of cycling.
A 2010 review in *Environmental Health
at cycling in the Netherlands—with its extensive cycling networks—and
found that, “on average, the estimated health benefits of cycling were
substantially larger than the risks relative to car driving.” A recent
review published in the *British Medical
which looked at the risks and benefits to health of travel by bicycle, came
to similarly positive conclusions. “The health benefits of physical activity
from cycling using the bicycle sharing scheme (Bicing) in Barcleona, Spain,
were large compared with the risks from inhalation of air pollutants and
road traffic accidents.” One of the study authors told *Science-ish*, “Our
findings are applicable to other cities, although the risk benefit ratio may
change depending on the level of pollution between cities, as well as the
risk of traffic accident. But the benefit of physical activity will remain
So, here in Canada, to cycle or not to cycle? Teschke said, “I think getting
exercise is a major problem in North America, and though we have higher
[injury and fatality] risks from cycling than in Europe, we have higher
risks from obesity, as well. So, in North America, while the risks are
greater, the benefits are greater as well.”
It’s important to note, too, that there is a well-documented “safety in
numbers” effect for pedestrians and cyclists, meaning that as more people
get on their bikes or walk to work in a city, the safer these methods of
transport become. “In the Netherlands, which has some of the highest cycling
rates in the world (almost 30% of all trips are by bicycle) the injury risk
for cyclists is 1.1 cyclists injured per 10 million km cycled. In
comparison, in the UK and the U.S. only about 1% of trips are made by
bicycle, and the risk is 3.6 and 37.5 cyclists injured per 10 million km
cycled,” the 2010 evidence
Teschke is hopeful that as more awareness is raised in Canada about the
benefits of cycling and the need for biking infrastructure, the roads will
be safer places for motorists on two wheels.
In fact, already, the number of fatalities for cyclists has been decreasing.
In 2010, Transport Canada
“bicyclists accounted for about 2 per cent of traffic fatalities, with
an average of 60 bicyclists being killed each year in collisions with motor
vehicles.” This was a 2 per cent decrease from the 1996-2001 period.
Similarly, this summer, the Canadian Institute for Health Information put
out a press release<http://www.cihi.ca/CIHI-ext-portal/internet/en/Document/types+of+care/RELEA…>that
said while “the annual number of cycling injury hospitalizations
remained relatively stable between 2001–2002 and 2009–2010, the number of
cycling-related head injuries decreased significantly, from 907 to 665, over
the same period.”
By now you may be wondering: what about that ubiquitous bicycle appendage,
the helmet. Is it safer to wear one? Stephen
a professor in clinical epidemiology and biostatistics at McMaster
University, told *Science-ish*, “Some people argue they increase risk
because their use may encourage riskier behaviour by riders and drivers.”
But he added: “Conditional on being in an accident, I know I would rather be
wearing one than not. If you’re going to bike, wear a helmet.”
*Science-ish is a joint project of Maclean’s, The Medical
and the McMaster Health Forum <http://www.mcmasterhealthforum.org/>. Julia
Belluz is the associate editor at The Medical
Got a tip? Seen something that’s Science-ish? Message her at
julia.belluz(a)medicalpost.rogers.com or on Twitter @juliaoftoronto*
Living large—and healthy—on the bike
by Elly Blue <http://www.grist.org/people/Elly+Blue>
15 Aug 2011
As Chelsea Lincoln pedaled up a hill one day, partway through her seven-mile
commute, someone cruised by in a car, yelling: "You're fat!"
"The irony of the situation," she told me in an email, "was ridiculous."
The relationship between bicycling and health -- and driving and ill-health
-- has been demonstrated many times
The promotion of bicycling and bicycle-friendly streets has become integral
to a number of high-profile public health efforts aimed at mitigating what
is widely termed to be an American "obesity epidemic."
Lincoln, a graduate student in Portland, Ore., rejects the term "obesity,"
along with the negative stereotypes and focus on weight loss that come with
it, and prefers to say "bigger bodied" or, though she says many don't
understand it, "fat."
She's just starting to ride again after an injury forced a long hiatus, but
in the past she's been used to riding 20 to 30 hilly miles a day for
transportation and fun. "My body has always been fat," she said, "but I was
really fit and healthy, with all the biking I did. I chose self acceptance
as a way to allow myself to be myself without shaming my body."
Bicycle transportation, despite its importance to anti-obesity campaigns,
isn't necessarily a recipe for weight loss. It is, however, exactly what
public health advocates should be promoting instead: An excellent way to get
and stay healthy, no matter what your body type.
The irony is that body weight -- and the cultural baggage that comes with it
-- can be a barrier to getting on a bike. "Any exercise can be difficult to
get started, and unfortunately fat people face obstacles with judgment,
finding a bike that works for them and proper clothing for biking," Lincoln
Despite this, it can be done. And it can be amazing.
Developing a good relationship with someone at a bike shop helps. Lincoln
"never felt comfortable in most bike shops, since I felt judged, or they
assumed I was just getting started in biking and treated me like a moron."
She finally found a shop where the owner was "really friendly, welcoming,
You don't need a special bike or components. Really. Many bike shop
employees will try to steer bigger-bodied customers towards hybrids. That
might be what you want -- a slower, slightly more upright ride that isn't
necessarily built to put a lot of miles on -- but it might not. Try out a
range of bikes before making your decision. If you're concerned about a bike
being sturdy, look at mountain bikes and touring bikes -- they're built to
get you up hills and take a beating.
Investing in a set of strong wheels will help you avoid the common peril of
heavy riders, kid-haulers, and cargo bikers alike -- the broken spokes.
Likewise, if you always feel in danger of tipping over while riding, try a
set of wider tires -- the less tread on them, the faster you'll be able to
Beware the allure of the wide seat with lots of padding. If you sit bolt
upright on your bike -- say it's a cruiser, Dutch bike, or recumbent -- then
a wide seat makes sense. Otherwise, it's your sitz bones that rest on the
seat, not your fundament, and having a lot of extra quishy stuff down there
can lead to all kinds of discomfort.
You do need your bike to fit you well so you don't strain your back and
knees. A centimeter in seat height can make all the difference between bliss
and knee pain. Check out some basic
choosing and adjusting a bike yourself.
Some of the best-dressed people I see riding around Portland are larger
women. Someone finally clued me in -- it's because bike gear can be nearly
impossible to find if you're a woman over size 14 or so. There are some
online outlets, like the woman-owned Team Estrogen, that carry plus sizes,
but the selection may be less than amazing. A friend's sister chooses to
ride slowly and wear a classy wool jacket to keep the rain off because she
can't find a high-tech one that fits. Lincoln says she had to make her own
rain pants because the only plus sizes were fit for men.
But don't despair. There are affordable, one-size-fits-all rain accessories
for fancy technical rain gear: a poncho and a good set of fenders for your
I asked Lincoln for more tips. "My advice for fat folks just getting started
is to find support and just go for it," she said. "Support can be friends or
family who are understanding, or others who have been in the same
For exactly that reason, she helped create a Portland-oriented Facebook
group called Big Butt
which plans group rides and regular social get-togethers to support each
other and share their experience and knowledge.
People still sometimes yell at Lincoln out of cars, but she doesn't let it
get to her: "There is a lot of empowerment in the freedom of a bike and not
allowing others to get you down."
Just a bit more ammunition for those interested in road safety.
This is an aspect of transportation that no one likes to talk about, but
since it's out there in the form of a media article, (and since I was
extensively quoted), I wanted to follow up with some relevant facts. I note
that I am quoted in the article as calling these things "preventable". Of
course, I recognize that it is not always the case, as human error sometimes
just happens. What I intended to convey to the reporter was that *serious
injury was preventable thorugh infrastructure design aimed at lower vehicle
speeds*, as it basically comes down to physics. mass X acceleration, etc...
If you keep speeds low, good things happen. Period.
When I was referring to "diseases" I was referring to the fact that we, as
humans, dedicate significant campaigns and $$$ going towards finding cures
for diseases with no known cure (i.e. breast cancer, MS, etc..), while at
the same time have a nearly preventable "top ten" cause of death sitting
right in front of us that we accept as "a fact of life". It just doesn't
I am often reminded of the following quote from the World Health
*The relationship between speed and injury severity is particularly critical
for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists. For example,
pedestrians have been shown to have a 90% chance of survival when struck by
a car travelling at 30 km/h or below, but less than 50% chance of surviving
an impact at 45 km/h. Pedestrians have almost no chance of surviving an
impact at 80 km/hr. *
and this: http://www.statisticstop10.com/Causes_of_Death_in_US.html
and this: http://www.statisticstop10.com/Causes_of_Death_Older_Teens.html
This is why slower speeds around pedestrians is really the only solution,
especially around schools and seniors centres and frankly anywhere else that
we feel like having safe communities. I note in the free press article and
comments, freeways and crosswalks are brought up as a way of keeping
pedestrians safe from speeding cars. Don't be fooled. Crosswalks come in
many forms, some good, some not so good. What really needs to happen is to
discourage overall automobile travel, especially travel at higher speeds and
to give priority to pedestrians as a rule. Unfortunately, rarely do we have
the guts to make the seemingly unpopular decisions required. Freeways. hmm.
One way to eliminate pedestrians accidents is to simply eliminate
pedestrians. However, it just pushes the problem elsewhere. We end up
driving instead of walking, which is even more dangerous. We all end up
going farther (and getting fatter), not safer. Think globally, walk
locally, slow down. Better yet, don't drive unless absolutely necessary.
Personal note: Sorry for taking the liberty to add to this post. This is a
sore spot for me, as my girlfriend was hit by a car a couple years ago
(she's OK) whilst doing absolutely nothing wrong (green light, walk signal,
etc..) She flew about 20 feet. When we reported it at the police station,
they initial said there was nothing they could do and that, incredibly, the
driver would have to report it (!!?) I am sure this is not the only story
Anyway, just to note, safety is not normally my thing. I am not afraid of
dying. Bring on the tigers, mudslides, random explosions, etc... I would
simply rather it not be the result of someone switching Beyonce albums and
not paying attention for a second. Accidents do happen, but slower design
speeds mean that *when* they do, the results aren't so gruesome. Anyway,
it's not about that. It's about walkable, bikeable, enjoyable communities.
Accidents happens, death happens. I just don't understand why we insist, as
humans, on doing it to ourselves.
Hopefully one of you will be able to do something about it.
Have a great day.
On Mon, Aug 15, 2011 at 8:09 AM, Beth McKechnie
> Walking, cycling can be deadly As more of us hike and bike, will death
> toll rise?
> By: Jen Skerritt
> Pedestrians and cyclists have long been a major part of traffic deaths
> and injuries, Winnipeg police say, and there's increasing cause for concern
> as more people take up walking or bike riding.
> In the last 18 months, for instance, 29 people died on Winnipeg streets in
> car crashes, and 18 of them were pedestrians or cyclists.
> Since 2007, 79 people have died on Winnipeg streets in vehicle collisions,
> including 36 pedestrians and cyclists.
> So far this year, four pedestrians have been killed on Winnipeg roads. Of
> the 18 serious or fatal crashes that police investigated in 2011 to date, 11
> involve pedestrians and two involve cyclists.
> Active-transportation activist Anders Swanson said he's worried society has
> collectively forgotten these deaths are preventable and lowering vehicle
> speed and investing in better infrastructure can help prevent them.
> He said governments spend millions of dollars on research to prevent deaths
> caused by disease, but comparably spend very little on preventing road
> "Here you have this one cause of death, which is basically preventable, and
> we're not doing anything about it," Swanson said.
> Sometimes, accidents happen at intersections or pedestrian corridors. Other
> times, pedestrians are jaywalking, intoxicated or not paying attention.
> Most years, Winnipeg Police Patrol Sgt. Damian Turner said, between 20 and
> 25 people die on Winnipeg roads, and a substantial portion of those deaths
> are people who were crossing the street or cycling. According to the latest
> police data, 140 pedestrians and 79 cyclists were injured on Winnipeg roads
> in 2009. Police are still reviewing data from last year.
> "We're concerned about the fact that pedestrians are being hit," Turner
> said. "It is common. We've known for a number of years that a significant
> proportion of the fatalities we're going to experience every year are going
> to be pedestrians."
> Turner said he's seen cases where drivers do not see the pedestrian,
> including an instance on Portage Avenue where a bus driver did not see
> someone crossing. He also said he sees people every day who dart across the
> street after taking a quick look at the traffic and "just run for their
> lives." A number of pedestrian fatalities in the city's core area have
> involved intoxicated people, he said.
> Unlike other cities, jaywalking is not illegal in Winnipeg so police do not
> hand out fines or tickets.
> "Unfortunately, the only accountability is when they get smacked by a car
> and they're killed or severely injured," Turner said. "The result is that a
> driver who, a lot of the time is not at fault, suffers the trauma of knowing
> they've hit a pedestrian they really couldn't control."
> Swanson, co-ordinator of One Green City, a volunteer project to create a
> network of safe cycling routes, said part of the problem is that the current
> road system was designed with cars in mind, not people, and it will take
> time and money to make streets safer. Last year, the city spent $24 million
> on bike-and-pedestrian upgrades to 35 routes. The overhaul was part of an
> infrastructure-stimulus program funded by all three levels of government.
> Swanson said it's a good starting point, but there's still a long way to
> "Since the car has caught on, we've invested almost exclusively on
> automobile infrastructure for decades. It's going to take a big investment
> to make things safer," he said.
> High-volume intersections such as Portage and Main are designed to take
> pedestrians out of the mix, and the city keeps tabs on problem areas that
> may need a pedestrian crossing.
> City road engineer Stephen Chapman said the city examines 10 years of
> collision data when concerns are raised about pedestrian safety.
> The city looks at the volume of cars, the number of pedestrians and factors
> in any reported collisions to determine if engineering improvements could
> make the road safer.
> While new roads are built with safety in mind, Chapman said Winnipeg has a
> lot of older areas that still need to be brought up to modern standards.
> Sometimes, he said, the city will put in a guard rail, widen a sidewalk,
> raise curbs and move a light stand back to address safety concerns.
> "When you have a road that was designed years and years ago, it's older and
> may not meet certain standards," he said. "We try to bring it to those
> Chapman said in recent years the intersections prone to the highest number
> of pedestrian crashes -- including Portage Avenue and Langside Street and
> Osborne Street and Wardlaw Avenue-- have had lights replaced by half-signals
> facing just one, not both, of the roadways. Often, he said, the width of the
> road can make it more difficult for pedestrians to cross and the city needs
> to make it clear who has the right of way.
> Widening the streets to make it safer for pedestrians is tricky in older
> areas of the city. Winnipeg has narrow, old roads and dated bridges that
> make seriation safety upgrades difficult.
> "We're always working toward improving the pedestrian crossings in the city
> and concentrating our efforts on areas that are most problematic for
> collisions," he said.
> But those upgrades have to be done within a limited budget.
> This year, the traffic engineering improvement program -- which is
> responsible for intersection and road design improvements and pedestrian
> corridors -- will spend a total of $1.95 million. Chapman said the branch
> prioritizes projects according to need, and works within their annual budget
> to get things done and move other projects up the list.
> While Chapman said the good news is the city is in the midst of major road
> upgrades -- including the Chief Peguis Trail extension -- due to
> partnerships with other levels of government, the city's infrastructure
> deficit is a daunting $3.8 billion.
> Earlier this year, staff and parents from École River Heights asked
> council's public works committee for a pedestrian crossing at Elm Street,
> where students get off the bus. In the last eight years, five students have
> been taken to the hospital after a vehicle struck them.
> The committee agreed to move the existing pedestrian corridor from Oak
> Street to Elm Street, but decided against overhead flashing lights to alert
> drivers a student is crossing.
> Parent council chairman Rod Miller said the city told him the crossing
> doesn't meet the criteria to have flashing lights and 88 per cent of
> similarly requested projects are ahead on the city's list. Miller said he
> doesn't understand why the city will not take the extra step and eliminate
> any potential risk to students.
> "It's frustrating from where I sit," he said. "If between now and the time
> the thing is done a kid gets hit and breaks a leg, what's the cost?
> $100,000, $200,000 minimum, versus a $32,000 installation. Where's the money
> better spent?"
> Swanson said he would like to see citizens say "enough is enough" and
> demand Winnipeg strive for zero road fatalities. He said every Winnipegger
> needs to take responsibility and decide that people have the right to get
> from point A to point B safely.
> "In an urban environment, I don't see any reason for people to die
> unnecessarily," Swanson said.
> *The numbers*
> *2011: four deaths, (as of Aug. 2, 2011)*
> April 3: Redwood Avenue and Powers Street
> April 13: Henderson Highway and Leighton Avenue
> June 13: Main Street and Higgins Avenue
> June 29: Pembina Highway and Dalhousie Drive (cyclist)
> *2010: 12 pedestrian deaths and two cyclist deaths*
> March 18: Taylor Avenue and Waverley Street
> March 27: Main Street and Atlantic Avenue
> April 11: Main Street and Machray Avenue
> April 15: 1145 Dakota St.
> June 17: Main Street and Jarvis Avenue (cyclist)
> June 25: Manitoba Avenue and Charles Street (cyclist)
> July 15: McPhillips Street and Templeton Avenue
> Aug. 11: Portage Avenue and Raglan Road
> Aug. 21: 1670 Portage Ave.
> Oct. 25: Mountain Avenue and McGregor Street
> Dec. 19: 446 Young St.
> Dec. 20: Portage Avenue and Sherbrook Street
> Dec. 23: McPhillips Street and Pacific Avenue
> Dec. 24: Fife Street and Inkster Boulevard
> 2009: 1 cyclist death
> July 4: Jefferson Avenue and Airlies Street (cyclist)
> *2008: six pedestrian deaths*
> Feb. 1: Kenaston Boulevard and Boulton Bay
> Feb. 11: Grant Avenue and Lilac Street
> June 7: Selkirk Avenue and Andrews Street
> June 25: Donald Street and St. Mary Avenue
> Sept. 26: Notre Dame Avenue and Spruce Street
> Dec. 29: Isabel Street and Ross Avenue
> *2007: six pedestrians and three cyclists*
> March 23: Mountain Avenue and Kildarroch Street
> May 23: McPhillips Street and Leila Avenue
> July 24 - Burrows Avenue and McGregor Street (cyclist)
> Sept. 14: St. Mary's Road and Oakleigh Place
> Sept. 28: Redonda Street and Gunn Road (cyclist)
> Oct. 31 - Warsaw Avenue and Harrow Street (cyclist)
> Nov. 6: Inkster Boulevard and Sinclair Street
> Nov. 13: 1395 Grant Ave.
> Dec. 6: Kenaston Boulevard and Sterling Lyon Parkway
> -- Source: Winnipeg Police Service
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