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The City of Houston has a bond measure on the ballot this November that will help create more parks and green spaces in the city. Parks By You, who is spearheading the campaign to get the bond passed, intends to use 70 miles of bayous and greenways to give most Houstonians access to parks within 1.5 miles of their residences. These new linear parks and bayou green spaces will be paid for partly through the bond measure and partly through outside matching funds.
The trails that will be built through these parks will increase safety and accessibility for cyclists and pedestrians, as they will no longer have to mix with traffic on busy streets. These off-road trails will make active commutes more pleasant and more attractive to more people.
Some of the benefits of this project include:
Public Health and Safety Benefits:
The bond measure is Proposition B on the ballot. Please vote Yes for Proposition B and help make Houston greener and more accessible for cyclists and pedestrians!
Fort Worth resident Zac Ford was the victim of a hit-and-run driver in early August. All he remembers of the incident was riding along on his bicycle and then waking up in a hospital. He was fortunate to have relatively minor injuries, but he was left with a sizeable hospital bill and no bicycle, since his assailant has not yet be caught. To help him out, the Fort Worth bike community rallied around and organized a fundraiser in his honor. Additionally, Zac's friends and fellow cyclists want to be sure that Texas streets and roads are safe for cyclists and pedestrians of all ages, so some of the evening's proceeds went to BikeTexas to help promote bicycle safety and education throughout Texas. The event organizers invited BikeTexas to attend.
About 170 riders departed from Zio Carlos in Fort Worth to the site of the accident and back again. Participants were treated to three live bands, as well as a raffle with prizes donated by local businesses. An organization of air traffic controllers who know Zac came together to get him a new bike, but he was not the only lucky recipient of a new set of wheels that evening: The final raffle prize was a new carbon fiber bike frame and fork. The man who won this bicycle was also without a bicycle due to another hit-and-run accident in back May, but he has not yet fully recovered from his injuries. He tearfully told the crowd that he thought they would release him to get back on the bike in November.
Altogether, about 200 people from Fort Worth and the surrounding communities came out to the fundraiser. BikeTexas is honored to have been invited and receive part of the night's proceeds, but more importantly, we're delighted to see such a strong and dedicated cycling community that wants to make a difference in their city.
International Walk to School Day is October 3! Are you, your children, and your school ready?
There's an easy way to get ready. The BikeTexas website has an Event Handbook that is available as a series of PDFs online, or you can order a physical copy from the online form. We also have an Educational Resources page with bookmarks, coloring books, and other fun materials that you can order to hand out. On the same page are the BikeTexas SafeCyclist Curriculum Teacher Master Pages available for downloading, including a Walk Safe Rules Handout.
Additionally, the National Center for Safe Routes to School (SRTS) hosts a series of webinars for teachers, parents, community leaders, or anyone interested in the SRTS program. Older webinars are archived and available for view and download on the webinar page. One recent webinar, "Active, Healthy and Ready to Learn: Evidence for SRTS and Children's Health," makes the case for children being more ready to learn if they arrive at school on foot or on a bicycle instead of in a car.
The next SRTS webinar is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept 25, and is called "The Community Connection: School Travel Plans and Building Community Support." Register now at the link!
The Queen Mary Hotel, a 1936 ocean liner in Long Beach, CA, was the destination for a couple of BikeTexas staff and the over 100 others who attended the Alliance for Biking & Walking's 2012 Leadership Retreat.
Since 1996, The Alliance has held a retreat for bicycle and pedestrian advocacy leaders every other year. The goal of the weekend is to "inspire and connect Alliance leaders with:
Attendees were able to choose from many informative sessions, such as "Innovative Education: Engaging All People to Improve Bicycling and Walking." In this session, Edward France from the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition asked the audience of bicycle advocates to role play as taxi cab drivers as he presented a power point that he shares with the San Francisco drivers. The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition works with the taxi companies and local bus drivers to educate them on how to safely share the road with bicyclists and pedestrians. Additionally, their diverse citizen outreach program includes brochures in multiple languages. Knowing that many of their population do not own computers, they distribute brochures throughout the various neighborhoods to educate people on bicycling and walking.
Bicycling and walking leaders left the retreat ready to put their new knowledge to work in their communities.
To honor our friend, colleague, and fellow cyclist Iris Stagner, friends of Iris and BikeTexas hosted a memorial ride in Mineral Wells at 1:00 pm on Friday, September 21, 2012, one hour before funeral services for Iris at Indian Creek Baptist Church in Mineral Wells.
The five-mile ride started from the parking lot of the Palo Pinto General Hospital. The ride headed west on US 180, past the site of the crash that took Iris from us, and then proceeded to the nearby church. Cyclists lined up on Indian Creek Road in front of the church for the arrival of the funeral procession. The Palo Pinto County Sheriff's Department provided escort and traffic control for the ride.
About 75 friends of Iris came out for her ride. Butch Stagner, Iris's husband, greeted riders and thanked them for their support.
According to an article in Individual.com, the Mineral Wells Stage Race will be renamed the Iris Stagner Memorial Stage Race.
You can read Iris's obituary here.
I first met Iris when she called me several years ago and inquired about getting "Share the Road" signs posted on rural roads in her county. We worked together to develop a strategy which she successfully implemented. She shared her experience in an article for the BikeTexas newsletter.
The taste of victory was sweet and Iris was ready to do more. The Safe Passing bill had been introduced in the Texas House of Representatives and the Texas Senate. Iris secured a letter of support from the Palo Pinto County Commissioners that made a strong positive impression on many rural legislators. She also came to Austin so we could meet with her State Rep. Jim Keffer and State Senator Craig Estes. She was very persuasive and won both legislators over to support the bill. Representative Keffer even joined the bill as a co-author!
The joy, courage and leadership exhibited by Iris was very appealing. Iris was recruited to join the BikeTexas Board of Directors where she has served the last two years. She has a been a tireless volunteer and champion for Texas cyclists of all types and ages, not just her fellow racers. Iris believed in giving back and wanted to see more racers engaged in bicycle advocacy and making conditions safer for the current and next generation.
She loved the bicycle trail in Mineral Wells and the protected bikeways that are catching on around the world, but she could not resist the beautiful, open Texas roads. Iris believed the roads exist for all users and we should exercise our rights as Americans to use them. She had been harassed and threatened while cycling by aggressive drivers many times over the years but she would not be intimidated.
Iris knew she was a safe and skilled bicycle rider and did not take unnecessary chances. She also said, "If I die while riding my bike then I will go out doing what I love." Iris knew that the more bicyclists there are in a community, the safer it is for all of them. Unfortunately for all of us, Iris Stagner, age 54, died about fifty years too soon.
BikeTexas Executive Director,
and friend of the late Iris Stagner.
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