Monday, March 22, 2010

Back To The Bike

Wow, I can't believe how much more we've spent on gas since I broke my arm. Not being able to ride a bike just has made such a huge difference. The number of miles isn't all that enormous, but the little driving trips around town - just to the store or to take the kids somewhere - that all adds up and the car gets much worse mileage on such trips. Normally I only take the car if we're going a substantial number of miles, but until this week I've had to drive everywhere.

Finally I've been able to start riding my bike, I rode to work tonight for the first time, but I'll have to say that my arm was so exhausted that I had to ride part of the way home with just one hand on the handlebars. It's still not quite all the way good for riding, but it's getting there! And I know it will be a few more weeks before I can even think of riding the tandem with the kids. Luckily, I think I will be all healed by the time the good weather really rolls around!

And to piggyback on that good news, here's something even better. From the League of American Bicyclists Blog, an article about Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood's address at the National Bike Summit. There may be some things I don't like about the way the President is doing his job, but one thing is for sure is that everywhere behind the scenes, changes like this are taking place. They might not make the news like the big Health Care Debate, but they are positive steps that will affect all of us.

I am very excited about this! Read on (quotes from the League of American Cyclists Blog)

When the Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood stood on a table at the National Bike Summit to thank the crowd and show his support for bicycling and walking, he was just getting started.

Today, he announced his new Policy Statement on Bicycle and Pedestrian Accommodation Regulations and Recommendations. It is simply the strongest statement of support for prioritizing bicycling and walking ever to come from a sitting secretary of transportation.

On his blog, he writes:

Today, I want to announce a sea change. People across America who value bicycling should have a voice when it comes to transportation planning. This is the end of favoring motorized transportation at the expense of non-motorized.

We are integrating the needs of bicyclists in federally-funded road projects. We are discouraging transportation investments that negatively affect cyclists and pedestrians. And we are encouraging investments that go beyond the minimum requirements and provide facilities for bicyclists and pedestrians of all ages and abilities.

To set this approach in motion, we have formulated key recommendations for state DOTs and communities:

Treat walking and bicycling as equals with other transportation modes.
Ensure convenient access for people of all ages and abilities.
Go beyond minimum design standards.
Collect data on walking and biking trips.
Set a mode share target for walking and bicycling.
Protect sidewalks and shared-use paths the same way roadways are protected (for example, snow removal)
Improve nonmotorized facilities during maintenance projects.
Now, this is a start, but it’s an important start. These initial steps forward will help us move forward even further.

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