From the Wreckage Can Come Change

By guest writer Luke Heller, RUSA Organizer

BikeWreckFour randonneuring friends were admitted to Wake Med ED on Saturday 2/20 nearing the end of a 200km ride on quiet country roads East of Raleigh after being plowed down by an inattentive driver. There were no skid marks suggesting that the driver attempted to stop. The four bikes were in a single file paceline in the order of Mike Dayton, Lynn Lashley, Joel Lawrence, and Chris Graham. The cyclists were struck from back to front with Chris taking flight and landing approximately 10 feet from the impact. The injuries sustained by these friends are numerous and gut wrenching.

I had the duty of picking up the mangled bikes from the wrecker service that arrived at the scene the night of the wreck. Seeing the condition of my friend’s bicycles was only the buildup of visiting them in the ICU. Out of respect for my friends, I won’t recount the depth and specifics of each person’s injuries; the road to recovery will undoubtedly be longer for some than others. The NC Randonneuring cycling community and cyclists far and near will be pulling for these tough individuals. It’s hard to rattle a randonneur as they’re known to go out for unsupported long distance rides in the worst of weather. We’re all turning the pedals to carry that spirit on for their recovery.

How to cover yourself:
It is highly unlikely that this driver has adequate insurance to cover even the medical bills one might face after a crash like this. And your own health insurance will step to the front of the line to recover their costs first. If you drive, your own uninsured or under-insured coverage picks up where the driver’s insurance stops – check your policy and ensure you have uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) auto insurance. Non-driving members of your household are also covered by your auto policy. Yes, your own medical insurance will cover medical expenses (at some percentage, and with some out-of-pocket max) and hopefully now, we all have medical insurance. But there is so much not covered by medical insurance. So this is my advice to those of you wondering now what else can you do to protect yourself.

The community has gathered support for these cycling comrades by starting a GoFundMe page to help shoulder the financial burden created by this crash that the driver’s insurance will fall short of. If you’d like to support our friends and their families, you can send a donation of any amount via this Go Fund Me Page.

Next Steps:
This is the head scratcher. What happens next? The driver has been charged with 4 misdemeanor traffic charges for an “accident” that has changed four people’s lives forever. How can we make our roads safer? Where is the accountability? Operating a motor vehicle is not a right, it is a privilege. Yes, the repercussions for such negligence and endangerment seem to be all but absent. Keep turning the pedals for safer roads and for a strong recovery for our cycling comrades.

SafePassing
Driving Tip:
When asked for a cause to her actions, the driver in question said simply “I didn’t know what to do.” When you are behind and preparing to overtake cyclists, treat them as the vehicle that they are.
1 – Slow down, this is sharing the road.
2 – Patiently wait for a passing opportunity. No oncoming traffic and a clear line of sight.
3 – Pass with clearance, using passing lanes, as if passing a car.

Write by 12/29 to Shape Cycling Safety Laws

BikeLanesAlertNCDOT has released a draft report of recommendations for the H232 Bicycle Safety Law Study. The draft report includes recommendations that differ substantially from the recommendations of the H232 committee. For instance, the NCDOT report recommends legislation limiting riding abreast (the committee voted unanimously against such legislation) and recommends legislation requiring bicyclists to ride on the right side of marked travel lane.

The Draft report may be read here: http://www.bikewalknc.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/H-232-report.pdf

The Draft Appendices to the report may be read here: http://www.bikewalknc.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Appendices_sm.pdf

NCDOT’s page that includes committee meeting minutes is here: http://www.ncdot.gov/bikeped/lawspolicies/

BikeWalk NC and Asheville on Bikes urges cyclists in NC to review the draft report and send NCDOT comments before December 29. Together we recommend that no new legislation be promoted to restrict where a bicyclist may ride within a marked travel lane or riding abreast within a single marked travel lane.

A working group of NCDOT representative and North Carolina officials have compiled the following comments to help inform the NC Legislature on HB 232

Pros
1. Recommend that drivers be able to cross double yellow line when passing a cyclist
2. Mandate a 4 foot clearance when passing a cyclist
3. No requirement for cyclists to carry ID
4. Allow right arm indication of a right turn. Left arm indicator is often misinterpreted.
5. Bicycles would be on par with motorcycles in terms of vulnerability and liability

Cons
1. Maximum of two abreast cyclists under any circumstances, exception is an approved bike race.
2. Requirement for bright clothing
3. Cyclists to ride as far to the right of the right travel lane as possible and safe (There are no current restrictions on where cyclists position themselves, only a best practice recommendation to ride in the area where the right wheel of a motor vehicle would track.)
4. A requirement to obtain local permits for groups of 30 or more
5. No headphones or any other distracting items.

Please email questions and comments to NCDOT (at bwpoole@ncdot.gov) by 5:00 p.m. on December 29, 2015. Include “H232 Comments” in the title. Comments should be addressed to “NCDOT” or to the “Joint Legislative Transportation Oversight Committee.” Email comments will be included as an addendum to the appendix. The final report and appendix will be sent to the Joint Legislative Transportation Oversight Committee by December 31, 2015.

Thanks to BikeWalk NC for this information.

AoB Submits Comments on I-26 Connector

Part of Asheville on Bikes’ mission is to provide guidance at a state and local level when transportation planning and bicycle infrastructure intersect. During the public comment period of the proposed Interstate 26 Connector project, we felt a strong responsibility to weigh in — not to endorse any single plan —  to simply make the priorities of our members’ known as it might apply to any proposed plan. With that in mind, Asheville on Bikes submitted the following letter to the NCDOT and the Asheville City Council.

If you feel motivated to submit comments of your own, before the December 16 deadline, feel free to reference any part of the letter below or these “5 KEY POINTS” and give your comments at https://mysidewalk.com/organizations/290199/comment-form

  1. Ensure the preferred alternative is consistent with all relevant local plans. This includes on-street bicycle infrastructure identified in the 2008 City of Asheville Comprehensive Bicycle Plan and greenway corridors in the 2013 Asheville Greenways Master Plan.
  1. Amboy Road should be reduced from a proposed four lanes to two lanes of automobile traffic. This will reduce vehicle speeds and promote the safe movement of bicyclists and pedestrians as they access the French Broad River corridor from their neighborhoods.
  1. The Haywood Road interchange design should incorporate a separated cycle track to safely move bicyclists on this popular road. A separated cycle track will reduce the potential for collisions and is needed because Haywood Road consistently receives the most bicycle traffic of any road in Asheville, as evidenced in the city’s annual bicycle traffic counts.
  1. The West Asheville Greenway should include paved access for pedestrians and bicyclists from all local roads that parallel or dead-end into the greenway corridor. This will allow users to access the greenway without traveling on major roads where safety is a greater concern.
  1. Bicycle lanes should be installed on Patton Avenue east of the Jeff Bowen Bridge to facilitate the safe movement of bicyclists into the downtown area. These bicycle lanes will provide a connection with existing bicycle lanes on Clingman Avenue, Hilliard Avenue, and other streets downtown. This request is also consistent with recommended infrastructure improvements in the 2008 City of Asheville Comprehensive Bicycle Plan.

Know the history of the I-26 Corridor Project and Asheville Design Center

AoB’s Letter to the NCDOT…

Re: I-26 Connector

Dear Mr. Joyner,

As an organization that seeks to support and enhance bicycling opportunities in the city of Asheville, we are writing today to submit I-26 comments that relate most specifically to bicycle related matters. Specific comments are listed below and organized by section.

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You’ve done so much. You’ve only just begun. Help AoB help Asheville.

Dear AoB Supporter,AOB_Clint_rr3

When you first biked in downtown Asheville, what did you notice? If you’re like most in our community, you probably had a hard time finding a complete bike friendly route to get to your destination.

Why? Because Asheville’s infrastructure development is only five years old. And since that first bike ride, what changes have you noticed?

Your voice, your volunteerism, and your contributions have helped make critical changes for biking in Asheville.  We are so grateful for helping to make these changes possible, and as we continue to gain ground in our community, your generosity will continue to determine our success.

You are the HEART of Asheville on Bikes! You made 2015 a BIG year…

  • Your participation helped defeat state legislation which jeopardized the implementation of bike lanes and sidewalks on state owned roads.
  • You successfully advocated for Asheville’s first protected bike lane as part of the RADTIP project.
  • You partnered with the City of Asheville, the West Asheville Business Association, and the North Carolina Department of Transportation for the first on-street bike corral.
  • Your voices were heard and a 5 foot bike lane on Craven Street became reality.
  • Participation and the number of community rides continues to grow each year.
  • You created new partnerships with the Blue Ridge Bicycle Club, the University of North Carolina,  and enabled Asheville to host Cycle Smart, adult bicycle education classes.
  • You created a transformative partnership with the Asheville City Schools Foundation to provide after school bicycle education to middle school students.
  • You played a meaningful role in our community by hosting Asheville city candidate forums to inform public of transportation issues and candidate positions.

Thanks to you, Asheville on Bikes continues to push the pedals to advance Asheville’s urban cycling. We’re on a roll, but to sustain this cadence, your support is needed. We’re asking you to fuel the Asheville on Bike’s engine – by donating to our operating budget with a year-end gift.

Please click here to give online»

Thank you so much for your help!

Warm regards,

Mike Sule

Director of Asheville on Bikes

Oct 31 // Pumpkin Pedaller

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Join us for a costumed community ride that is FREE to all. Enjoy music, food, and camaraderie. Plus, we’ll be giving away prizes to those with the most ghoulish costumes!

Asheville on Bikes presents the ninth annual Pumpkin Pedaller on Saturday, Oct. 31st. The annual costumed community ride gathers in front of City Hall at 2:30pm, and rolls forward at 3:00pm on Halloween. The nine mile ride meanders through North Asheville, climbs Sunset Trail, and circles Montford before rolling back into town to New Mountain for a Halloween bike festival.

The Pumpkin Pedaller is the hallmark of the Asheville Halloween experience. And, AoB is set to deliver again, this year. Each year, the ride attracts more and more participants. We’re responding by hosting a bike festival at New Mountain following the ride.

We’ll have music by Speed Square, food trucks, Michael Mooney’s bike jousting, a costume contest, and a chance to win an Industry Nine wheel set. New Belgium will also donate portion of their beer sales to Asheville on Bikes. 

The Pumpkin Pedaller is free and open to the public. Participants are encouraged to RSVP at AoB’s event page, ride in costume and review the route prior to the ride.

2:30pm | Gather at City Hall
3pm | Pedal
5:30pm | Culminate at New Mountain
5:30 – 7pm | Bike Jousting!
6 – 8pm | Music
7pm | Costume Contest

Thank you to our sponsors! A portion of all New Belgium beer proceeds will support AoB.

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PumpkinPedaller_sponsors

Step Right Up // Keith Young Answers AoB’s Candidate Forum Questionnaire

Tell us something about your transportation habits. How do you get around Asheville?

I am one of many Asheville residents that rely solely on an automobile. However, since I work downtown I tend to walk most places while in the area. It’s very convenient to move in and around the city when essential amenities are close. Shaping development with density in mind gives residents easier access to cleaner, greener alternative transportation methods Also, I’m not an avid biker however, being able to utilize bicycles downtown if readily available would be a sensible addition. Quick and easy access to a system of bicycles throughout our metro area, near bus stops, and greenways could help compliment our multi-modal transportation plans. Once the greenways connect, I can envision a total network of travelers engaging in a bike share system with limitless possibilities. You may even see me riding one through downtown on a lunch break running errands.

What do you consider to be the most significant transportation advancement in Asheville and what impact does it have on our community?

Giving consideration to all things, I would have to simplify this answer. Our bus system has made incremental advancements. I believe we have a great deal of work ahead of us. Our goal should focus on making this system a tool for everyone. Sunday Bus service and extended hours have assisted many Asheville residents in closing the gaps of their basic everyday needs. This was a small victory when viewing the scale of a system that could do more to serve Asheville residents. A victory none the less and an achievement .

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