Category Archives: education

Ethics in Driving

“Too often, bicyclists are treated as scapegoats for the consequences of negligent motoring behaviors.”  –BikeWalk NC on developing a culture of driving at a safe speed

The article the leading quote is from reminded me of a main barrier for promoting bicycling.  The State Traffic Engineer is quoted as indicating bicyclists should ride on the right edge of a narrow rural lane road.  The engineer’s guidance is opposite of what we know to be safe.  The League of American Bicyclists smart cycling guide advises “when a lane is too narrow to share safely, ride in the middle of the lane”.   What can we do about this discrepancy?

We begin with taking responsibility for making bicycling safety common knowledge.  Part of this process is releasing any prejudices that prevent us from acting on right knowledge even when we know it to be true.  Often times when people say conditions are unsafe for bicycling or walking, the unspoken part is that it is unsafe because of the way people are driving.  If we are driving and our braking distance exceeds the sight distance, we are driving too fast for conditions.  Driving too fast for conditions is a behavior that makes roads unsafe for all users.  BikeWalk NC concludes that developing a culture of safer speeds involves shifting the focus away from blaming vulnerable people using the road to raising the expectations for drivers.

This mindset for universal road safety is essential for those in leadership positions.  We can not afford for State Engineers to be aloof on safety.  When I first started talking to people about bike safety, I was shocked with how many people either had the wrong idea or denied the safety of bicyclists.  I spoke to a county supervisor and a board member of a bicycling advocacy organization that expressed the exact sentiment as this State Engineer.  Rather than blaming, we can simply begin by cultivating appropriate attitudes based on responsibility and safety.  Individuals changing can inspire confidence.  We have to change the way we think about driving cars by envisioning driving in a way that is compatible with bicycling, walking, and safety for all.

References:

BikeWalkNC is a cutting edge advocacy group.  I’m really impressed by the way they are leading the way through persistent challenges by fostering clear and constructive dialogue.  Thank you!

Designing and Educating for Bicycling

Every effort to promote bicycling hinges on a clear understanding of how bicycling works in the context of the overall transportation ecosystem.  The guiding principle for bicycling is commonly referred to as vehicular cycling.  A more modern term is bicycle driving.  It is the basis for safe coexistence with traffic and conforming to the rules of the road.   If you’ve ever operated your bicycle on an ordinary residential street, going with traffic, then you’re already doing it.  Bicycle driving is what is taught in the Safe Routes To Schools curriculum, and every other bicycling education program.   Complete Streets is the design aspect for bringing bicycling into the mainstream by designing streets for bikes.  The educational component is bicycle driving, and it instills confidence for people to be fully empowered to use bicycles to travel anywhere.

The Bike League’s curriculum and all bicycling education programs are designed “to create a mindset that bikes are treated as a vehicle” (from becoming an instructor).  This mindset instills a sense of proportional responsibility and is the basis of appropriate relationships for bicyclists to all kinds of traffic and traffic control devices.  This mindset shared by all sets the tone for great streets and trails.  On the multiuse trail this principle guides bicycles to yield to pedestrians and equestrians, gauging travel speeds accordingly.  On the road the bicycle driving principle means the most predicable, safe, and visible way to move is with the vehicular traffic flow.  Even when there is physical separation between motorized traffic and bicycle traffic, such as with a protected bike lane, the motions of the two traffic streams must always be coordinated and mutually aware.  This is especially true at intersections, driveways, and parking zones when traffic mixes and the cooperative environment depends on predictable movements, communication, awareness, negotiation, and common rules to which all traffic adheres.  Complete Streets policies support design environments that welcome bicycle traffic and lower traffic stress so that people have a better chance to positively orient to the road with whichever mode they choose.  A Complete Street is as an inclusive place and built on the underlying structure of relationships between varying types of traffic.  Traffic skills education is a complimentary factor that facilitates pleasant travel by fostering order and raising awareness.  Design and education work in tandem to promote good bicycling.

Most people have some reservations about bicycling because they are not clear how bikes fit in.  Forward looking solutions include education for drivers to respect all kinds of traffic, and treating bicycles as an equal vehicle, welcoming diversity.  Most bicycle traffic occurs on roads without a designated bicycle facility such as a bicycle lane.  A regular travel lane needs to be at least 14 feet wide for it to be safely shared side by side by a car and a bicycle.  Seeing bicycle traffic using a general travel lane may look different than what we are used to.  I trust we are acclimating to bicycles as a normal component of traffic and civic life in the mainstream, just like we are welcoming diverse religions, cultures, and lifestyles.  Change takes a new attitude, an open mind, and in the case of roads, traffic calming and the conception of an inclusive space.

Bicycles are good for the transportation ecosystem.  As we design and educate better for bicycles, include bicycle traffic in our engineering metrics and traffic flow analysis, and we learn more about what bicycling can do for us and we do it more, things are going to get a lot easier, safer and more attractive.  The quicker we can make these changes, the sooner we can move ahead.  In the Southwest, Utah and Colorado are already in the bike friendly top ten.

For understanding bicycling, I’ve benefited from the generosity of the creator of azbikelaw.org.  For the last two years, Ed has suggested reading related to bicycle law, roadway design, engineering, and traffic behavior.  He has a “do it yourself” entrepreneurial attitude and continues his education, applying critical thinking and analytical skills to practical experience to spur progress.  Ed responds cordially to questions, and links people to resources.  Always there to foster more informed dialogue.  Some of the lessons were tough, like the lessons from a cyclist who was killed by a hit from behind on a charity ride in Cornville.  Ed’s analysis and documentation is brave and courageous, like the novelist Cormac McCarthy’s willingness to tell the story of violence in Western culture and its continuum past to present.  AZ Bike Law is my August 2015 Bike Org of the Month.  Thanks for your diligence and enthusiasm Ed.

bmufl-addition

Please be kind to persons bicycling, walking, rolling, driving autos and commercial vehicles.  Drive with care and caution.  Forgiveness and understanding.  We are all learning.  Gracias!

long Crest road

Clarifying That Bicycles May Use Full Lane

A published study uses empirical evidence to show that the “Bicycles May Use Full Lane” sign works better than the “share the road” sign for raising the perception that bicyclists are an expected presence on the American road.  While “share the road” was a well intentioned campaign, the ambiguity of the message decreased effectiveness.  Clearer is safer.   Here’s the study:  http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0136973

mutcd_full_lane

The Bicycles May Use Full Lane sign is a standard sign in the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices.  It may be used on any road regardless of speed limit.  It explicitly states a principle that is essential for the safe operation of a bicycle, and improves relations between bicycle and motorized traffic by educating the public that the road is designed to serve bicycle as well as motorized traffic.  For guidance on deciding when you should use the full lane, see this piece, “Where to Ride on the Road“.  It is from the excellent resource at azbikelaw.org/  and collates the best advice on choosing positioning from leading bicycling authorities.

The key is a person bicycling has a right and responsibility to decide for themselves where to safely position on the roadway.  Fundamentals of bicycle driving include being predictable, visible, following the rules for drivers, anticipating and avoiding hazards.  It is common for operating conditions to necessitate that people bicycling use the general travel lane.   This sign affirms that right.  The study says that “The Bicycles May Use Full Lane signage showed notable increases in comprehension among novice bicyclists and private motor vehicle commuters, critical target audiences for efforts to promote bicycling in the USA”.   It also draws attention to the web of benefits that a growing understanding and a healthier practice of bicycling allows us to connect to, including realizing greater transportation efficiency and cost savings, increased health, reduced stress on the road, greater mobility freedom, the satisfaction of using our bodies, the independence of self reliance, and a higher quality, more attuned life.

References:

Once again, here’s the study:
“Bicycles May Use Full Lane” Signage Communicates U.S. Roadway Rules and Increases Perception of Safety
More from azbikelaw.org on sharing the road.  This is where I first saw the study (Thanks Ed!):
http://azbikelaw.org/whats-wrong-with-sharing/
The study was done by researchers as NC State University.  They are conservation biologists & “work to unravel the drivers of environmental behavior on which global sustainability depends.”  Bicycling is the most integrative, multidisciplinary, holistically beneficial activity on the planet.
http://www4.ncsu.edu/~mnpeters/
A related post on the “Sharrow” lane marking:
http://azbikelaw.org/bicycles-may-use-full-lane-slm-mutcd-updates/
A related misperception is that bicycles may not delay traffic.  In fact New Mexico is one of 42 States that make it explicit impeding laws only apply to motor vehicles.  This means that people bicycling are permitted to move at speeds that are fitting and natural for their bicycle travel.
http://www.cazbike.org/bicycles-are-not-motor-vehicles-and-why-it-matters/

Blue Horizons with SLO Initiatives

The photo below is Albuquerque’s main street circa 1960 from this article.  The article is a tough read (I don’t necessarily recommend it), but the picture shows where we are coming from.  This is the legacy we inherited and are redesigning to an environment that invites mobility freedom.

ERNST-HAAS-Alberquerque-2716744-1024x641

The San Luis Obispo Air Pollution Control District — slocleanair.org — is doing some really cool things.  They have this character named Eco Man who draws attention to positive behaviors.  Getting to work and conducting business in an efficient way is good and natural.  Eco Man helps trigger those thought processes and points out the exceptional power in human decision making.  Eco Man is really corny.  I like him.  I could see him working at Esperanza in ABQ.

Another dimension of creating change is putting clues and signals in the landscape, such as  infrastructure for walking and biking, that make for attractive places.  One of the changes in infrastructure we are seeing pop up around Albuquerque is the sharrow.  It is cheap and basically gets more sustainability value out of the existing infrastructure by inviting people to bicycle where they are already should be bicycling.  It is a little “yes we can”.  Yes we can bicycle and walk more beginning today Albuquerque and the American Southwest.   The sharrow and things like “share the road” signs and bike lanes help activate the sustainable transportation potential.  Keep looking for ways to use the natural and built environment in healthy ways.

piñon road

natural probike/walk attributes are abundant.  Tijeras Canyon takes you to a plethora of country roads available to pedal and Tijeras Canyon itself is a wonderful cycle route, part of Adventure Cycling’s Route 66 cross country sojourn

Bear Canyon Arroyo I-25 Bridge

The bear canyon arroyo bridge over I-25 is a delight to ride especially around dawn and dusk

2015.8.27 sunset from Bosque Trail

The Bosque Trail along the Rio Grande green belt through the middle of Albuquerque is always perfect

2015.8.27 sunset from Diversion Trail

The high desert is so very pretty at night. Albuquerque is known for lovely sunsets, beautiful skies, visual splendor

The places to ride here are amazing.  SLO has a few programs we could adopt for Albuquerque that would help incentive change here too.  I’m pulling these from their newsletter May 2015:
1) Wood burning device changout program.  They’ll give you $1,000 or $2,000 dollars to change over to a clean burning heating system.
2) Rideshare rewards.  They’ll pay you to choose an option other than driving your car solo to work or school.  It can be the bus, the bicycle, skateboard (kids are smart), telecommute, etc.
They also have a clean school bus program .  They are changing out older dirty diesel engines or adding particulate filters to make them cleaner.  This is critical since young people’s lungs are more vulnerable when developing, and also helps buoy mental attitudes when we see greener buses and heavy machinery operating with care.  I think we’ve got what it takes in Albuquerque and all we have to do is get behind initiatives that help us all and take a course of action to be a part of the positive change.  This is something that would be good to rush after.

Transformation

curves

crow flies

Cycle for Science: Pioneers Pedaling Across America

Two young teachers are biking across America this summer teaching pop up science classes on renewable energy and physics with their 3D printed solar powered bicycle invention.  So cool!  Bicycling is a great vehicle for spreading the word.  The human story united with science lessons makes for an incredible odyssey.  Here’s their website: Cycle For Science

Elizabeth and Rachael are carrying their empowering message across America on bicycles

Elizabeth and Rachael are carrying their empowering message across America on bicycles

These teachers have pedaled across most of the US and are now in the Midwest, very close to where Chen Guanming is at.  Chen Guanming is the Chinese man riding his Rickshaw across America to share the Olympic spirit.  I met him when he passed through Albuquerque in May.

Go Chen!

Whether you are beginning art, science, or bicycling, the underlying message is the same.  You can do it if you try.  When people show up on bicycles it sure does show they are motivated, capable and dedicated.  Here’s a spotlight on the Cycle for Science story from NBC News.

NBC News Cycle for Science cover photo

http://player.theplatform.com/p/2E2eJC/nbcNewsOffsite?guid=nn_jac_cycle_science_150507

“Be curious and realize you are good enough.”  –Cycle for Science teachers on NBC News

Las Campanas NM State Championship: I am a Practicing Bicyclist

“We are all learners.  One can improve their bicycling skills.”  –a Transportation Professional

top of crest 2015.6.13

The Las Campanas Classic is coming up this Sunday.  It is being held in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  Check it out, register yourself, your sons and daughters, or just come out to be a part of the community and absorb healthy bicycling fun.  I raced this last year and the setting and course are spectacular.  Las Campanas Classic

Also the Race Across American (RAAM) is happening now.  The record for bicycling across America is about 8 days.  That includes sleeping.  The bicycle is indeed a powerful vehicle for moving and connecting people together across this great county.  RAAM

Some day I’d like to ride across America, but I might take my sweet time.  In the meantime I will keep riding locally everyday and learning as I go.  I always discover something new.  Be cautious, prepared, and careful, and remember every time we set out on a journey to open our imaginations to experience the adventure.  Here are resources to empower people cycling.  Enjoy the ride.  Thank you bicyclists, teachers and transportation professionals.

“Ride Big.  Riding big makes you visible and encourages motorists to give generous passing clearance.”
http://cyclingsavvy.org/ten-tips-for-successful-cycling/

“Yield before moving laterally or turning.”
http://www.bikewalknc.org/2014/05/basics-of-bicycle-driving/

When riding in groups, “ride further from the right edge (18 to 24 inches) than when solo.”
http://www.cascade.org/ride-smart-paceline-tips

Bringing Bicycling into the Mainstream: US DOT

“US DOT (Department of Transportation) hopes that public agencies, professional associations, advocacy groups, and others adopt this approach as a way of committing themselves to integrating bicycling and walking into the transportation mainstream.”  –from the USDOT guidance on Accommodating Bicycling and Pedestrian Travel

As has happened many times before in American history, the US Government is taking its cues from the people.  Lately people are walking and bicycling more.  US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx’s leadership has set the tone for viewing walking and bicycling as indicators of livability in healthy communities, and is helping to craft policies based on meeting the increasing demand for active transportation modes across the country.  The USDOT’s guidance calls for “intensive re-tooling and re-education of transportation planners and engineers” (p7) to accomplish the goal of “fully integrating bicyclists and pedestrians into the transportation system” (2).  For the visionary leadership and fine resources and high standards they are developing, the US DOT is my Bike Org of the Month for May, 2015.

The public transportation system threads together the fabric of our Nation.  Federal leadership serves as guidance for the State planning:  http://newmexicotransportationplan.com/   Public comments are being accepted by NM DOT through June 26.  Articulate your support for walking and bicycling.  Every voice counts.  Help New Mexico absorb the USDOT guidance.

Our actions speak the loudest.  During the recent initiative by the Albuquerque Parks and Recreation department to weed out the pesky ‘goathead’ plants and reseed with native grasses, two young people that just moved here from Texas volunteered to help with the task (pictures below).  What a way to get started making this your home.  People care about active transportation and want to get involved helping our walking and bicycling systems thrive.

Trail crew

Bosque trail better now

trail crew works

“You cannot build enough trails.”  –Greg Ballard, Mayor of Indianapolis, IN
“Helping children fall in love with nature should be…a top national and even international priority, right there alongside addressing climate change and preserving wilderness.” –John Hickenlooper, Governor of Colorado

We can gradually realize a positive transformation of the transportation system because of the integrity of the planning and coordination, and through our unwavering focus and commitment.  Citizens are leading the way with their involvement, grass roots organizing, and by walking and biking more and asking for competitive transit.  Governors understand that connecting people with places is essential for respecting cultures and environment.  Mayors realize providing a healthy living environment builds economic prosperity and brings out the best in people.  And regional planning agencies, counties, and cities are all reorganizing around the principle of synchronizing land use and transportation polices to achieve walkable and bicycling friendly communities.  On Sunday I bicycled out to “South 14” (pictures below) and it reminded me of how much existing excellence we already have to build on.  Paved shoulders on rural roads make it safer for everyone and open up a good option for cycling and walking to foster closer connections between people, and between people and the places where we live.  There were so many people cycling South 14 (aka NM 337) on Sunday!

S14 Sunday 2015.6.14

S14 Sunday Bikes Going Past 2015.6.14
climbing purple S14

“To know who you are, you have to have a place to come from.”  –Carson McCullers, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, quoted in Wisdom Sits in Places by Keith H. Basso

Indian Paintbrush up in Northern New Mexico.  At a public meeting a citizen expressed the importance of better roads north of Santa Fe

Indian Paintbrush up in Northern New Mexico. At the June 4 NM DOT public meeting a citizen expressed the importance of improving roads north of Santa Fe

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Further reading and sources:
KRQE did a story on the program to remove goatheads and restore the trails system land health with native grasses:  http://krqe.com/2015/06/04/city-trying-new-plan-to-eliminate-spiny-goatheads/

Another organization that was present to volunteer for trail work was the greatoldbroads.org

Gred Ballard and other Mayors voice their support for bicycling’s transformative powers here.

John Hickenlooper quoted from this Denver Post article.

This US DOT document tells an interesting story about where we are coming from, includes a vision of where we are going, and how we can get there step by step.  Thank you US DOT, for developing these resources for America.  This is leadership on freedom.  http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/bicycle_pedestrian/guidance/design_guidance/design.cfm

Racer as Advocate: Tim Johnson

“Our goal with the Ride on Washington, and this year’s Ride on Chicago, is to raise awareness of bicycle advocacy and its efforts nationwide among the racing community.”
“And I’m lucky to see time and time again that bikes aren’t just for racing or training on. They’re for moving, for transportation, for recreation, for work. They are for everyone.”
–Tim Johnson, US Cyclocross National Champion

zzz

I like cycling.  I do it for every reason, including meeting more cyclists.  My cycling world keeps expanding.  I began for economic efficiency and got into touring, racing, and advocacy.  The diversity and relevance in cycling are beautiful aspects.  People cycling represent the full spectrum in the American continuum.  I leapt into advocacy a couple years ago when I decided I could achieve more with my pedaling by combining it with another dimension.  This has been a most rewarding new journey in my cycling life and has proven to me the cycling community is strengthening by being open, welcoming and growing more diverse.

Being open minded does not come easily.  It means challenging the worldview that we thought we knew, and dissolving stereotypical thinking.  It involves being with people who are not exactly like us.  Learning involves humility, and shifting our perceptions.  But it connects us to a more colorful world.  One that coheres, in part, through our participation.  We are those connective bonds.  We are the greeters opening the doorways.  Diversity sparks inspiration, imagination and inventiveness.

Tim Johnson, a former pro racing cyclist, is a leader in this regard.  He knows bicycling needs to be attractive and accommodate a wide range of people, including families that want to cycle together.  People in every place from every walk of life.  So Tim started organizing rides and learning about advocacy efforts that were helping to remove barriers so more people could begin cycling.  Advocacy organizations are enlisting more racers as roll models, much as advertisers do with athletes from other sports.  The advocacy movement realizes high level champions like Tim can help build up cycling friendliness across the country and welcome more people in.  Racers are people to look to when we study the beauty of the human form, the pursuit of achievement, the quest to fulfill our potential and to see what is possible when we reach toward the sky.   It is a more interesting table to sit at, or ride to join, when more diversity is present.  We bring our differently developed skills and collaborate to promote the joys and benefits in cycling for everyone and advance people by moving cyclists forward together.  A multipurpose ride is exponentially more fun.

Both roles, racer and advocate, require tenacity, an indomitable spirit, effort behind the scenes that goes unnoticed, sacrifice of time and resources, long term commitment and dedication.  Racers and advocates appreciate this.  Both activities are team oriented.

The first step towards collaboration is the simple orientation of wanting to help.  When we try something new we discover there’s more to us than we even knew.  Things we never imagined doing, like writing or public speaking, become naturalized skills developed in the march to larger goals.  We find out there is more than one way to make a difference in the world.  Readying for the next opportunity adds a new dimension of fulfillment in life.

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References/Credits
Tim Johnson and the 2015 Ride on Chicago
http://www.peopleforbikes.org/pages/ride-on-Chicago
http://www.peopleforbikes.org/blog/entry/tim-johnson-leaving-a-legacy-far-beyond-racing
Tim Johnson Featured here in the Drive with Care campaign (photo credit):
http://www.peopleforbikes.org/pages/travel-with-care

Biking Around Albuquerque and Sharing the Road

Winter arrived Saturday night and Sunday morning it was snowing!  But true to form for a sunbelt city in the American Southwest by early afternoon the roads were clear and I was ready for a ride.  It was actually perfect, I worked all morning and since this is when I’m freshest I got some work done.  I had a big ride Saturday so was content to take it easy on Sunday.  Sunday I went down Constitution and connected with the Diversion Trail, to Paseo del Norte Trail, to Bosque Trail, to Mountain Rd., Edith, Indian School, and on home again.  The variety of riding accessible in the city is outstanding and makes a Sunday afternoon spin around town engaging.

Skateboarders using the arroyo channel.  My favorite geographer JB Jackson loved improvisational uses of landscapes.  Vernacular culture

Skateboarders using the arroyo channel. Geographer JB Jackson loved improvisational uses of landscapes. Vernacular culture.  Skateboarders are unfailingly friendly on the paths.  One called me Sir today.  I still feel like a kid at heart.

Like most cities Albuquerque is in the nascent stages of realizing a well connected bikeways system.  There are strands of excellence in the bikeways system and we are in the process of tying them together better.  One part is upgrading and building infrastructure and the other part is education for sharing the road.  Here are some things I noticed on my ride, and thoughts on infrastructure and developing that sharing the road culture.

On Constitution there is a bike lane most of the way but at intersections bikes use destination lane positioning.  I'm going straight here so get in line

On Constitution there is a bike lane most of the way but at intersections bikes use destination lane positioning. I’m going straight here so I get in line behind this red GMC Trailblazer.  Wyoming is a big intersection crossing.  It is kind of a mental barrier to cross as well as a physical one.

Bicyclists, do not pass traffic on the right!  This photo illustrates why.  The suv turns right at the driveway once we clear the intersection.  Sharing the general travel lane rather than being position to the side of traffic can help decrease likelihood of "right hooks"

Bicyclists, do not pass traffic on the right! This photo illustrates why. The suv turns right at the driveway once we clear the intersection. Sharing the general travel lane rather than being positioned to the side of traffic can help decrease likelihood of “right hooks”.  For cars, do not pass bike traffic and then turn right in front of them.  This vehicle was first come and this right turn was first serve.  Worked great.  I’m sure they looked for me to be certain I was still behind them.

One thing I did not capture with my camera was the vehicle looking to turn right on red onto Constitution from Wyoming while I was crossing the intersection.  The driver was holding a cell phone to their head (hands free devices while driving are legal here) and inching forward readying to turn.  Since I was positioned in the middle of the general travel lane they had better visibility to me and I had more time to react if they did not see me and began pulling out into the lane.  Sometimes sharing the road raises questions from drivers such as “why are you riding in the middle of the lane?” and bicyclists are presumed to be discourteous when prioritizing safety.  Here is a great article on courtesy within the context of safe riding practices.  Check out the interactive graphic further down in the article on reasons trained bicyclists ride where they do:
http://iamtraffic.org/education/courteous-cyclist/

Most bicycling education groups would have this sharrow sign moved left.

This is further down on Constitution.  Most bicycling education groups would have this sharrow sign moved left.

Bicyclists passing this parked vehicle want to leave clearance to avoid the "door zone," the possibility of an opening door from a parked or standing vehicle

Bicyclists passing this parked vehicle want to leave clearance to avoid the “door zone,” the possibility of an opening door from a parked or standing vehicle

When bicycles are following safe riding practices by riding in the lane that is too narrow to share, often times safe motorists will see an opportunity pass but are afraid to exercise their judgment if this means crossing the double yellow center line.  Austin TX police put out a public announcement helping motorists understand how to exercise good judgment in a circumstance of a narrow lane with slower traffic ahead and a double yellow centerline.  Other groups, like I Am Traffic, lobby for better laws for passing slower traffic on a double yellow.  The key is making the effort to understand the needs of all road users and working together to build a respectful paradigm of best practices.  The article on courteous cycling (also linked above) discusses how bicyclists may help facilitate a pass if traffic is building up behind or having trouble passing.

On second street heading north to get to the prime 313 North riding we have to share the lane and watch out for vehicles entering from side driveways, making certain we are visible.

On Second street heading north to get to the prime 313 North riding we have to share the lane and watch out for vehicles entering from side driveways, making certain we are visible, and also watching for right edge hazards like gravel

This bent guardrail and the double level pavement on the shoulder on 313 North create right edge hazards

This bent guardrail and the double level pavement on the shoulder on 313 North create right edge hazards

On 165 to Placitas the left hand turn lane reduced the usable shoulder to practically nothing creating a shared lane (these last three photos are from Saturday's ride)

On 165 to Placitas the left hand turn lane reduced the usable shoulder to practically nothing creating a shared lane (these last three photos are from Saturday’s ride)

Even our best cycling routes are fraught with hazards!  Think critically, ride cautiously and look out for one another.  Anticipate conditions that necessitate sharing the road well in advance.  Use a shoulder check and/or your mirror to be sure it is safe to move into the travel lane prior to moving left.  Yield to any traffic in the lane or that is readying to pass you and do not move over until it is clear.  Be predictable and visible so traffic has time to adjust to and react safely to your presence.

What else can we do to help Albuquerque become a platinum level bicycling town, and New Mexico a top State?  Participate in the ABQ Bikeways planning process.  Right now the plan is showing a continuation of the Diversion Trail to meet Roy Road under the “critical links” section in the plan.  That will be a great access point for connecting the city to riding east on Tram and north on 313.  But it is not listed under the “current projects”.  On the “proposed facilities NW quadrant” link Second Street is shown as having a bike lane.  One question is when and how can we secure funds to implement enhancing the infrastructure connectivity.  Another question is how ambitious we’ll be in envisioning the possibilities for empowering bicycles as a tool for smart development.  Right now for free we can all educate ourselves and one another on sharing the road and understanding our rights and responsibilities.  It is also fundamental to understand where we are coming from and the ripple effects of marginalizing bicycle traffic.  Most of all I think we can take positive action by riding safely and being ambassadors to the world that is and acting to help usher in the change we want to see in the world.  It is a good time and season to be a bicyclist in Albuquerque promoting good will.  I thoroughly enjoy these late Fall early Winter rides where I’m free to explore and get to know my city.  It is such a joy to be a human being ranging freely on a bicycle.

Ghost Bikes

The Duke City Wheelmen make monuments for fallen cyclists called ghost bikes.  On almost every ride I go past one.  They are sobering and startlingly poignant reminders what is gone is gone forever.  I am of the mind the best way we can honor fallen cyclists is to ride on with our full humanity reflected in the way we ride: carefully and defensively and unafraid (with caution not fear), with honor and civility and unashamed, with remembrance and kindness while living the life before us.  Here are positive reasons to ride and celebrate.  Who knows maybe we have angels among us now urging us forward with courage to live the life we want.

Rethink mobility
Include the ancient ways of walking and human powered wheeled vehicles in daily living.
Restart your imagination
Would a human centric mobility paradigm look any different than the current transportation system?
Reencounter youthfulness
Active movement is a sure way to get us feeling better and younger.
Restore the environment
Lightening the impact of our living is a gift to children.
Rebuild community
Engage with the place you live and the neighbors you share it with on a down to earth level.
Redefine the character of your city
Be the change you want to see by living it.  Your life is a creative enterprise.
Reinvent American transportation culture
The vitality of the country has always depended on reinventing ourselves for the better, responding well with enthusiasm and with simple ingenuity to the need for changes.
Redesign how you get to work, school and shopping
Make active transportation belong in your life where it may fit in well.
Reengage your body
When we try we find out we are capable of much more than we might have expected.
Re-Lease your life
Biking and walking is a great way to get moving towards your life’s goals.  Go for it.  Take out a new lease on life.  Doesn’t matter how old you are or what you’ve been through.  You’re alive!
Rediscover diversity
The places we live are infinitely varied and interesting, and walking and biking helps us refresh our view.
Revitalize your spirit
Biking and walking more helps us feel better, see and know more, and be more while taking less.  Oh yeah, and its FUN!  Don’t be afraid to feel good and take pleasure in the basics.

Check out Albuquerque’s Biking and Walking resources to help you get started, or check with your local bike shop to connect into the support you need to get moving forward.

Credits: I borrowed the structure for the rethink and restart your mobility life theme from a publication called “Locally Grown: New Mexico’s Guide to Local Food” Summer 14-15 edition published by http://www.farmersmarketsnm.org/

Thank you for the inspiration