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DeFazio leads trio requesting GAO investigation into bike/walk safety

Thursday, December 18th, 2014
Transpo bill press conference-4
Rep. DeFazio in September 2010.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Oregon Congressman Peter DeFazio — who likes to mention in speeches that he’s the only member of Congress who has ever worked as a bicycle mechanic — is taking his fight for safer bicycling to the United States Government Accountability Office.

Citing a “troubling increase in pedestrian and cyclist fatalities in recent years,” Rep. DeFazio has joined with fellow House Democrats Rick Larsen from Washington state and Eleanor Holmes Norton from the District of Columbia to request a GAO investigation into the issue.

In a statement released today, the trio said they want the GAO to investigate, “trends and causes of accidents involving pedestrians and bicycles and to make recommendations about improving safety.”
(more…)

Ferguson, equity, and active transportation

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014
leagueslideslead
A slide from Seeing & Believing in Bike Equity

Like many of you, I’ve been following the events in Ferguson and around the country very closely these past two days. Flipping from headlines to my social media feed, my head has been spinning with thoughts on issues ranging from racism and white privilege to our justice system and media culture. As last night’s protests spilled into the streets and freeways across America last night, this story came even closer to my own sphere of activism.

The shooting of Michael Brown and the decision by a Grand Jury to not indict Officer Darren Wilson isn’t a BikePortland story. We cover bike news and culture. But we also cover social issues — like sexism, racism, gentrification, and so on — that often intersect with bicycling.

So this morning, when I followed a link (shared by Elly Blue on Twitter) that led to a publication of the League of American Bicyclist’s Equity Initiative, I knew it was something I wanted to share here on the Front Page.
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Watch out bike-friendly cities, Steve Clark is coming for you

Thursday, July 24th, 2014
Steve Clark - League of American Bicyclists
Steve Clark in Portland last week.
(Photo by Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

If your city proudly proclaims its Bicycle Friendly Community designation, you might want to re-read your application and make sure you didn’t exaggerate. That’s because Steve Clark, the new staffer in charge of the program for the League of American Bicyclists, is on a three-year, 300 city tour to find out if they live up to the hype. (more…)

Oregon ranked 5th most bike-friendly state by the League

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

The League of American Bicyclists has ranked Oregon the fifth most bike friendly state in the nation. This ranking marks a slip of two places from our third place ranking last year. Since these rankings debuted in 2008, Oregon has only been out of the top five one time with an eighth-place in 2011 (which the Oregon Department of Transportation took exception to).

While no ranking system is perfect (and most of them are nothing but click-bait garbage) the League of American Bicyclists does have some credibility and they have a rigorous set of criteria that they use to weight a state’s success in integrating bicycling into transportation plans, policies, and projects.
(more…)

Biking matters most to lowest-income local households, new data shows

Thursday, January 30th, 2014
34% of Portland-area bike commuters come from the poorest 25% of local working households.
Source: Census Transportation Planning Projects. Chart by BikePortland.

Last week, we shared some new Census data showing that people who bike to work in Portland have quicker commutes than you might expect. This week, let’s look at a different question: who bikes? (more…)

4 things U.S. college towns could teach planners about biking

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013
Thousands of bicycles
The University of Oregon campus in Eugene.
(Photo by Gene Bisbee.)

Here’s a secret you won’t hear often: The United States has many cities where biking is far more popular than in Portland.

Two of them are just a two-day bike trip away.

They’re called college towns. And it’s time for urban planners to stop ignoring how well they work and start learning from them.

(more…)

Six lessons for Portland from the League’s new ‘Women Bike’ report

Thursday, August 8th, 2013
woman on a bike
Common, but not quite common enough.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Even in Portland, people who really ought to know better (links to FB) still claim now and then that biking is a thing for young dudes.

Still, in a town where only 31 percent of people on bikes tend to be female (it’s about 25 percent nationally) we’ve got a long way to go until, as in Germany or the Netherlands, our biking population is evenly split by gender. Portland’s failure to change this ratio for 10 years can be discouraging to people who think everyone deserves to feel welcome on a bike.

That’s why there’s a lot to celebrate in a new report by the League of American Bicyclists that rounds up dozens of statistics about women and bikes. Culled from industry reports, political polls and academic studies, a few of the report’s figures are pretty surprising…

(more…)

Oregon moves up to third in new Bike-Friendly State rankings

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013
Oregon Bicycle Summit
Bike rack in Sisters, Oregon.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

The League of American Bicyclists released their annual Bicycle Friendly States rankings today. Oregon came in third place, which is up from fifth place in 2012 and represents a significant improvement over our eighth place ranking in 2011. The top state in the 2013 rankings is our northern neighbor Washington (they were also #1 last year), Colorado came in second, and Minnesota and Delaware rounded out the top five.

The rankings, which first came out in 2008, are determined primarily through a questionnaire sent to each state’s bicycle coordinator (in Oregon that title belongs to Sheila Lyons at the Oregon Department of Transportation). Answers from the questionnaire are then fact-checked by League staff in collaboration with leaders from bike advocacy groups. The League scored each state on how well they performed in five categories: legislation and enforcement; programs and policies; infrastructure; education and encouragement; and evaluation and planning. Among those five categories, Oregon fared poorly in the “infrastructure and funding” category, earning just 20-40% of the total possible points. (more…)

Inspired by Copenhagen, League reveals more about ‘Diamond’ program

Friday, April 19th, 2013
Marching orders from the League.

Portland is one of just three cities in the U.S. to have achieved a Platinum level designation for bike-friendliness from the League of American Bicyclists. Platinum used to be the highest level a city could earn; but now there’s Diamond and the League just announced details on what it will take to reach it.

Does Portland have a chance? Do we even care?

In the current issue of their American Bicyclist magazine, the League’s Bill Nesper writes that they worked with none other than Andreas Rohl, head of the bike program for the City of Copenhagen, to help design the Diamond program. (You might recall Rohl from his appearance at the 2009 National Bike Summit.) Like the Copenhagen Bicycle Account, Nesper says Diamond eligibility will be, “based on tangible metrics and citizen satisfaction.” He also unveiled “Five key performance areas of he Diamond assessment”:

» Percentage of trips to work and school by bike.
» Bicyclist safety.
» Public perception of safety.
» Public satisfaction.
» Quality of bicycling network, programs and policies

The League will award points based on those five areas on a 100-point scale: (more…)

The national security argument for Safe Routes to School

Friday, June 22nd, 2012
Buckman Elem. bike safety class
More cycling = more soldiers.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland

In case you haven’t heard, there’s a battle royale going on in the U.S. Congress over the transportation bill right now. Members of the House and Senate are in negotiations to come up with some sort of agreement about how to actually pass a bill, instead of just extending the current one for the umpteenth time.

Included in these high-level talks are, once again, threats to change how cities and states fund projects that improve biking and walking. House Republicans and some Senators say they want to take away local control over spending on key programs like Safe Routes to School, Transportation Enhancements and Recreational Trails.

Suffice it to say, League of American Bicyclists president Andy Clarke isn’t taking it well. He’s pressing California Senator Barbara Boxer to reject the Republicans’ “small-minded and vindictive attacks” against bicycling and keep her promise to maintain these programs and retain local control over them. In a blog post this week, Clarke listed his top 10 reasons why Congress should not mess with biking and walking programs. (more…)

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