Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Bike-friendliest cities

The League of American Bicyclists -- whoever that is -- just released their latest listing of cities that earn distinction as "bike friendly." The league's criteria are "the five Es": Engineering, Education, Encouragement, Enforcement, and Evaluation & planning.

Distinguished biking cities receive Platinum, Gold, Silver or Bronze awards.

Davis, California was one of only three cities, with Portland and Boulder, Colo., to receive a Platinum Award.  The League cited Davis' generous creation and priority maintenance of bike lanes, bike traffic signals and scenic trails, and seemed particularly charmed by Davis' claim to be home to more bikes than cars.

Nearby Folsom received a silver award and my own Sacramento received a bronze.  Not a bad showing for our region!

You can read the League's ranking and see a complete list here.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Hot time on the bike trail!

This morning's ride along the American River Bike Trail was a little more interesting than the usual.  Fire crews from a variety of agencies lined the trail, battling a 12-acre fire that began late last night.  As of this evening, the fire is nearly -- but completely -- out.  Firefighters had a tough time even getting to the flames through the thick brush that lies between the trail and a finger-like offshoot of the American.

The cause is unknown, but some of the guys I talked to at the scene acknowledged that preliminary suspicions run toward the numerous illegal camps found in the area.

The trail stayed open and the air was filled with the lingering smell of smoke.  Six-inch hoses ran alongside the trail for a quarter mile or more, giving cyclists something new to look at for a change.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Ride Safe Month

September is Ride Safe Month in Sacramento, and the police department issued this release today describing their intent to enforce bicycle safety laws more diligently over the next few weeks. 

On the encouraging side, the first item on their list of safety tips is a reminder than bicycles have the same rights as other vehicles.  On the slightly less encouraging side, their targeted enforcement sounds completely focused on finding at-fault cyclists.  It might have been helpful to at least suggest that officers would also be keeping an eye out for drivers who fail to keep a safe distance between their cars and law-abiding cyclists.

Sacramento's chief is a cyclist (and says so in the release) and his department is part of a wider plan to make the city more bike-friendly.  Still, they missed a good opportunity to demonstrate that bicycle-car safety is a two-way affair.