Category: news

Open roads in the Santa Cruz Mountains

Happy Friday, all. More rain is on the way to the SF Bay Area and Monterey Bay region Wednesday so enjoy the sunny bike riding weather while you can. This information is collected from county public works departments the morning of Friday, January 27, 2017 and from scouting and is thought to be accurate, but please use caution even when riding on familiar roads, because pavement conditions may have changed since you last rode there. Even roads not listed on the closure lists may have issues; some roads I ride in the Santa Cruz Mountains, for example, have enormous potholes that have probably damaged more than a handful of automotive front-ends this week.


Montana proposal to ban bikes from most roads

Update: the bill has been changed to completely remove the proposed bans listed below.

Montana legislator Barry Usher (R-Roundup) has drafted a bill proposal to prohibit bikes, pedestrians, other non-motorized vehicles, and wheelchairs from all two-lane roads in Montana outside of municipalities where no paved shoulder is provided.

Montana proposed bill to ban bikes from most Montana roads

This bill, obviously, maroons anyone who lives outside of town and doesn’t have access to a motor vehicle or (as the bill is written) a horse. Approximately 50% of Montanans live outside of municipalities. At Montana’s Indian reservations, about 7% of Native Americans have no access to a car or truck. While only miniscule numbers bike, about 10% of American Indians living in Montana reservations walk to work.

In a state where a whopping 13% of traffic fatalities involve a driver with no license or suspended license, a law that forces more unlicensed drivers to hit the road will result in exact opposition of Usher’s state goal of “safety.” What does he expect these folks to do? Call Uber?

The image below shows Route 200 in eastern Montana. You can see how a driver might have zero room to maneuver on this shoulderless two lane road when a cyclist pops up suddenly in front of him.

Both Bike Walk Montana and Billings TrailNet are on it and have talked with Usher personally about how ridiculously counterproductive his proposal is, but Usher remains steadfast in his belief that the only safe way to travel is by car, truck or a motorcycle bought from his Harley Davidson dealership. Adventure Cycling Association, which is headquartered in Missoula, MT, would also be hit hard if this bill becomes law.

Paradoxically, when Usher ran for state office last year, he claimed to “oppose any and all government interference and regulations that go beyond the scope of constitutionally defined powers.”


City of Santa Clara BPAC seeks members

The city of Santa Clara, California Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) may have up to three openings for new members. The BPAC is composed of volunteers who either live or work in the city of Santa Clara.

Santa Clara zoning map

The BPAC advises city council on bicycle-related projects. Sometimes city council listens, sometimes they don’t. I’ve heard from current and former BPAC members that the San Tomas Aquino Trail closure has been an especially contentious and frustrating issue between them and city council, though they’ve had successes too.

BPAC meetings are held on the third Wednesday in January, March, June, August and October at 4:00pm at City Hall and are open to the public. Agendas are posted online and at the City Clerk’s office.

Request an application from Marshall Johnson at 408-615-3023 or Act quickly, because applications are due October 17. I work in the city of Santa Clara and I have biked on 200 of the 240 miles of road in town, but I’m not sure I can give up another Wednesday for something like this.

H/T to Pete M for the info.

Santa Cruz to consider bike share

Bike Party in front of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

At the Silicon Valley Bike Summit last month I saw city of Santa Cruz Economic Development Director J. Guevara looking closely at the bike share bikes on display. Social Bicycles — which provides the “smart bike” systems now in use in San Mateo, CA and — somewhat more famously — Portland, OR, was on hand at the bike summit to demonstrate their system.

It turns out Dr. Guevara was doing more than just kicking the tires. (more…)