Category: michigan

Rumble strips, Amish buggies, and road taxes

Unbelievable — some stingy residents in St. Joseph County, Michigan say the Amish shouldn’t have a say in how road maintenance is done because they don’t pay road taxes and vehicle registration fees. State fuel and vehicle registration taxes cover 57% of the Michigan Department of Transportation budget. This is, of course, immaterial regarding access — public roads are open to the public, no matter your ability to pay, and all stakeholders should be considered in road design.

(If the video doesn’t work, you can read some of the edited text here.)

Cyclists are often opposed to rumble strips because of the hazard they pose. I once nearly killed myself when I drifted left to avoid trash in the shoulder and into the nearly invisible rumble strips alongside US Highway 66 near Lyons, Colorado. The Amish in Michigan don’t like them because rumble strips are positioned perfectly for the left buggy wheel, resulting in a very unpleasant ride.

Via Spokes Rider and RJ on the CABO discussion list.

Michigan: Two wheel revolution

Geysering fuel prices and the clamor for sustainable lifestyles and cityscapes bode well for bicycle commuters.

In 2007, Ann Arbor adopted a comprehensive non-motorized transportation plan calling for 56 total miles of bike lanes racing along half of the primary roads. There’s an ongoing program of striping bike lanes on resurfaced streets; another six miles is scheduled for early this year. And all buses tote bicycle racks, making a seamless integration with mass transit.

To support these initiatives, 5 percent of Ann Arbor’s state gasoline and weight tax revenues are earmarked for non-motorized transportation improvements; combined with the city’s own funds, spending totals nearly $500,000 annually. “We’re going to just keep on growing our system,” says Transportation Manager Eli Cooper.

Cycling is merging into mainstream traffic. But Ann Arbor, despite its League of American Bicyclists “Bicycle Friendly Community” designation, still has some uphill roads. Kris Talley, chairwoman of the Washtenaw Bicycling and Walking Coalition (WBWC) points to the multitude of Michiganders unaware that bikes have a legal right to share the road. To that end, the WBWC is collaborating with Ann Arbor and its “Get Downtown” alternative transportation program on a “Same Roads, Same Rules” campaign, hoping to educate motorists and cyclists on the routes to road harmony.

Read more at Detroit Metromode. This wonderful article on what cyclists are doing in the state of Michigan also covers the Detroit suburb of Ferndale, MI, where the article writer apparently lives.