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Events Calendar

Sat, Apr 19
Aledo High School, Bailey Ranch Road, Aledo, TX, United States
Moritz Ride for Heroes

Tue, Apr 2210:00am - 11:00am
Plaza Saltillo Station, Austin, TX, United States
MetroBike Shelters Grand Opening (Austin)

Wed, Apr 23 1:00pm - 4:00pm
2929 Research Parkway College Station, Texas, Gibb Gilchrest Building Room 103
TxDOT Strategic Highway Safety Plan - College Station Workshop

Sat, Apr 26 - Sun, Apr 27
Fair Park, Dallas, TX, United States
Earth Day Texas

Sat, Apr 26
910 N Main St, Weatherford, TX 76086
Bike Out Hunger Weatherford

Safety & Education

SafeCyclist Training

Get certified to teach the SafeCyclist Curriculum 

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SRTS Event Handbook

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News / Blog

BikeTexas BikeNews

Interactive Distracted Driving Site

BikeNews; Community

Distracted Driving GraphicAs cyclists, we all know the dangers of distracted driving. It's best for our safety, and for the safety of all road users, if everyone using the road is paying attention and undistracted.

InsuranceQuotes.org put together an interactive page with the common sources of distraction while driving. From the site: 

It might surprise you that a conversation on a cell phone slows reaction time as much as driving with a blood alcohol level of .08%. In fact, some studies showed that talking on a cell phone resulted in even more accidents than drunk driving. As Americans drive twice as many miles per year as we did in 1980, it seems the distractions are growing exponentially while becoming even more hazardous.

Check out the distracted driving page here.

   

One From the Road

BikeNews; Community

A protected bike lane with trash in it.We found this great idea on BikeTexas business member Peyton's Bikes website, and had to share: 

Hey, folks! Here's a simple way for us to pitch in, show what good citizens cyclists are, and clean up our roads and trails, too.

It's called One From The Road and the idea is to pick up and dispose of at least one piece of trash on every ride. This easy act can make a real difference and will make you feel great, too. Thanks for helping!

We couldn't agree more! This would also keep our bike lanes and shoulders from getting covered in debris. Next time you're out riding and at a stop, have a look around to see if there's any trash in the vicinity you can dispose of properly. Thanks, Peyton's Bikes, for this great idea to keep our communities beautiful.

   

TTC Ignores Cyclist Safety, Issues Toll Road Ban

BikeNews; Advocacy

Cyclists confer in the hallway after the TTC decisionYesterday, the Texas Transportation Commission listened to testimony from Texas cyclists asking the commission not to ban cyclists from toll roads. The Commission chose to ignore the testimony—that there is often no alternative route, that toll road shoulders can be the safest place for bicycles to be in an area, that cyclists need access to their destinations just like everyone else—and voted 5-0 to ban bicycles from all TxDOT-controlled toll roads.

BikeTexas is disappointed and frustrated by this decision. We feel that the commission has arrived at this decision without any real study or planning. They did not consult stakeholders, engineers, or the available science before shutting down the conversation. We worry about the larger issue at stake: that TxDOT would make these kinds of decisions that affect thousands of Texans without any kind of process.

We believe it sets a dangerous precedent for the state’s transportation department to be run this way. Texas has a reputation for being a welcoming, inviting state to live and do business in. Many of today’s Texas business owners want to hire creative class workers, and those workers seek a quality of life that includes bikeability.

The Commission insists that this decision was made out of concern for cyclists’ safety. However, it does not seem to be truly a safety issue when a law is applied to one road and not another. Different rules on different roads breeds confusion for road users, and ultimately, disrespect for the laws that seem to be arbitrary. In addition, TxDOT’s own Toll Operations Division admits that there have been zero cyclist fatalities on toll roads, so no safety issue appears to exist.

Commissioner Jeff Austin commended the cyclists present for having passion for our issue. However, yesterday the commission were the ones ruled by emotion while the cyclists testifying presented facts and experience. Unfortunately, those facts were overruled by the TTC’s feeling that this must be dangerous. Ignoring the evidence, the TTC issued a blanket ban from all main lanes and shoulders of TxDOT-controlled toll roads.

The Commission was quick to assure us that this ban only affects five roads: Loop 1, SH 45 and 45 SE, SH 130 segments 4 and 5; all in Central Texas; SH 99 in Chambers County; and SH 255 in Laredo. But all Texas communities value having the freedom to participate in decisions that affect them rather than TxDOT dictating what they should do with no allowances for differences in regions, communities and roadways.

BikeTexas is committed to safety and access for all Texas cyclists. We will continue to work and fight to ensure we have our rights to all Texas roads. This defeat will not deter us from our mission.

   

SafeCyclist Training Proves Worthwhile for Teachers

BikeNews; Education Fund

A boy identifies parts of a bicycle as part of the SafeCyclist Curriculum.

As part of our ongoing commitment to reach schoolchildren across Texas with a message of bicycle safety, BikeTexas regularly conducts teacher training sessions in the SafeCyclist Curriculum with the help of a TxDOT grant. Since 1991, BikeTexas has certified close to 4,000 PE teachers and youth community workers. In addition, our SafeCyclist certified college faculty have taught approximately 4,000 students studying to be PE teachers. Part of the grant includes asking teachers for feedback at the end of the school year about the results of using the SafeCyclist Curriculum in their classes.

Many, many thanks to the teachers who took time at a few points during a busy school year to respond to our call for feedback. Your responses will help shape the future of the SafeCyclist Curriculum and will also influence future funding for Safe Routes to School in Texas.

Teachers practice the SafeCyclist lessons at a teacher training

Based on the feedback we received, BikeTexas has determined that at least 180,876 Texas schoolchildren learned about bicycle safety during the 2012-2013 school year. We believe the precise number may be much higher. We also celebrate a growing appreciation among our Texas teachers for the SafeCyclist Curriculum in a time when concerns for our children's health are growing due to increased childhood inactivity, obesity, and diabetes. We look forward to continuing our partnerships with teachers and with the ISDs they represent to continue to reach more Texas children with the lifesaving messages of bicycle and pedestrian safety.

Some of the responses we received:

Teachers at a training at BISD

"It gives me great pleasure to be able to teach my students a bicycle safety course. We have a lot of visitors at our school, Stephens Elem., Houston, TX. They are still very impressed to see our students riding bikes at school. My students love it. I have about 25-30 bikes and this is one of the highlights of my PE program. It is an honor and makes me feel good to be able to show the video and let my students ride bikes; many do not have the chance or have bikes at home. They and I love it." Theresa Lucher – Aldine ISD

"I enjoyed teaching the 'tune your bicycle and your body' segment. I think it's important that kids realize that they will enjoy bike riding and can ride longer if their bodies are in balance, flexible, strong, and they have achieved improved endurance." Dee Darst – Irving ISD

A teacher rides a bike as part of a teacher training.

"It gives me the chance to teach college-age students the importance of bike safety on college campuses as well as prepare them to teach their children or the classes that they might one day teach in their teaching careers." Kerri Hart – Abilene Christian University

"The actual facts of the safety course. Some of them were eye openers for our students at Villa Nueva Elementary." Florencio Torres – Brownsville ISD

"I enjoy the obstacle course. It encompasses all the safety issues with bike safety. We teach bike safety on scooters, as most of our students don't own a bike. I believe all students should know the bike safety rules and be able to adhere to them when they do get on a bike." Patricia McAlpin – Plano ISD

Happy teachers after a teacher training session

"We held our Bike Rodeo as an after school event for about one and a half hours and had volunteers from our Police Department and BikeIrving friends help with stations. My favorite part of actual teaching was the demonstration with 'crash' about helmet safety. Also hearing stories from the community and families at school about the new interest in and practice of riding bikes and riding them safely. I love seeing our bike racks begin to fill at school. I am excited to continue this curriculum early next year to start off the year with cyclists and walkers to school and as an improved from of transportation for our families. I would rather see a family of cyclists than a car FULL of children with no seat belts or even enough seats for everyone in the car!" Jana Neill – Irving ISD

"I enjoy the games for teaching the bike laws: Super Cyclist Turnover and the Charades game where kids act out the rules." Ellen Deaton – Humble ISD

UT students learn the SafeCyclist curriculum to teach to their own students one day

   

Action Alert: Contact TxDOT to Prevent a Bike Ban

BikeNews; Action Alerts

SH 130, a toll road with wide shoulders and low traffic volumesLast month, The Texas Transportation Commission (TTC) added a last-minute item to their May meeting agenda to propose banning cyclists from all TxDOT-controlled toll roads. Fortunately, we heard about the agenda item in time to attend the meeting and testify against such a ban. The TTC pulled the item from the agenda for more study. (Read more about the May TTC meeting and our response here.)

TxDOT has alerted us that the proposed ban is back on the agenda for the June 27 meeting. We feel that the TTC has not studied this issue enough to have the item back on the agenda so quickly and are disappointed that the TTC is choosing to ignore the rights of cyclists in this way.

Some of our concerns about a comprehensive bicycle ban from toll roads are:

  • Riding a bike on the shoulder of a highway is the last place most people would want to be, but there is often no alternative accommodation;
  • Some toll roads do not have service roads attached and may be the only access to a location;
  • Many Texas toll roads have low traffic volumes and few conflict points, and thus are safer than their alternatives;
  • Many Texas toll roads are in rural areas without the traffic volumes associated with urban toll roads.
  • Such a sweeping policy from TxDOT sets a dangerous precedent for the future and does not allow any latitude in accounting for differences in regions, traffic volumes, and alternative accommodations across Texas.

Take Action Now:

  1. Contact the TTC using this form.
  2. Share your concerns with the TTC (use any of the points above, or put it in your own words). Make the request, "Don't ban bikes from toll roads without first providing alternative accommodation." Mark "yes" under "Is this a complaint?" on the form.
  3. If you can make the trip to Austin on Thursday, please make plans to be at the meeting in support of cycling in Texas. Let us know if you can attend so we can plan our testimony accordingly.
  4. Keep us in the loop after you've contacted the TTC, so we can remind them on Thursday of how many emails they've received.

Together, we can fight this ban, which is an assault on the rights of Texas road users.

   

Dallas' Centralink Shared Bike Lane Network is Open

BikeNews; Community

Dallas city leaders pose at the new CentralinkDallas took another step forward in its bike plan this month by opening Centralink, a new network of sharrows in downtown that connects the Katy Trail, the Santa Fe Trail, and many neighborhoods.

PegasusNews reports:

On June 1, the city [debuted] a network of shared car/bike lanes downtown called the Centralink with a communal ride on the new paths called Ride-the-Link. Centralink adjoins the popular Katy Trail, a 3.5-mile concrete path along the west side of downtown, with the more recently built Santa Fe Trail, a 4.02-mile stretch through neighborhoods on Dallas' east side.

“This is the first step in the Dallas bike plan, and it’s making a big connect through the downtown area,” said Jared White, project manager with Transportation Planning and Public Works for the city.

In addition to creating a network of bike lanes, White said Centralink also connects to Oak Cliff via the viaduct at Young Street and Market Street, as well as to the Trinity Strand Trail with shared lanes through Victory Park.

See a map of the new Centralink network here.

BikeTexas Board Member Annie Melton attended the opening and shared the above photo, taken by Bud Melton. Pictured left to right are: 

Shelly White, Executive Director, Friends of the Trinity Strand Trail;
Dallas City Councilman Scott Griggs;
Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Pauline Medrano (outgoing);
Michael Hellmann, Assistant Director, City of Dallas Park and Recreation Department;
Jared White, Manager, Transportation Planning Division, Public Works and Transportation;
Max Kalhammer, Bike Coordinator, City of Dallas, Strategic Planning Division, Department of Sustainable Development and Construction;
Adam Medrano, Dallas City Councilman-Elect; and
Lee Kleinman, Dallas City Councilman-Elect.

   

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