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FCBC Newsletter

August 2021



Engineering the Road for Bicycling


Transportation engineers have the responsibility to design public roadways to safely accommodate all road users.  They operate with numerous constraints, including funding, laws, regulations, design guidelines, and liability.  With the recent emphasis at all levels of government to promote active transportation modes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote health, providing infrastructure that lessens the stress level to the more vulnerable users is critical.  Here are some things that engineers can do to support the needs of bicyclists:

  • Become a bicyclist.  There is no better way for an engineer to understand the needs of bicyclists than to get on a bike and ride.  It will become abundantly clear that minimum standards should be exceeded wherever feasible and reasonable.
  • Talk to bicyclists to see what they want, and be transparent as projects are proposed and developed.  Listening to users and stakeholders will improve the product that is ultimately delivered, and these interactions provide an opportunity to educate and inform the stakeholders.
  • Use green paint judiciously.  At $10 a square foot, it is pricey, but it is effective in highlighting conflict areas.  Don’t overuse it unless someone else is paying for it.  Otherwise less funding would be available for other needed improvements.
  • Design with maintenance in mind.  Engineers should work with the public works staff to make sure that bike lanes are sufficiently swept, potholes are filled, vegetation is trimmed back, and puncture vines (goat heads) in and along bikeways are eradicated.
  • Lighting is a necessity, not an amenity, for urban bikeways.  If users do not feel secure in their personal safety, they will not use the bikeway.
  • Don’t squeeze out bicyclists at right-turn lanes.  It is not reasonable to expect bicyclists to merge into high-speed traffic if no dedicated bike lane is placed beside a right-turn lane.  Some bicyclists will choose to ride straight in a right-turn lane, which is not lawful unless the right-turn lane has a sharrow and appropriate signing.  If there is not enough space for a bike lane next to the right-turn lane, ask whether it is even necessary to have the right-turn lane.
  • Don't be afraid of a 10-foot travel lane.  If the speed limit is 40 mph or less, a 10-foot lane, rather than the standard 12-foot lane, works perfectly fine in most cases where there is not heavy truck traffic.  The narrower lane has a slight calming effect and also allows for more of the pavement to be used for the bikeway, which is especially important when a Class II bike lane is placed alongside street parking.  Door zone bike lanes should be avoided wherever possible, and buffers can be placed on either or both sides of a bike lane.
  • A Class I bike path does not preclude the need for a Class II bike lane.  Bike paths are great low-stress bikeways, but the typical mixing of bicyclists and pedestrians is not conducive to high-speed bicycle travel typical of bicycle commuters.

Next month, we will discuss the interaction between bicyclists and pedestrians, who are often allies but sometimes adversaries.




FCBC Bike Café


FCBC held our second virtual bike café last month with discussion of canal bank rides and other favorite local rides.  The casual bike cafés allow open discussion of any bike-related topic, but there will usually be an opening topic to kick off the conversation.

The next bike café will be on Tuesday, September 14 at 7:00 pm to discuss biking with kids as we commemorate the return to in-person school.  We’ll discuss the basics of bicycling safety with infants and small children, the skills and equipment, and how to ride with the family.  Come share your experiences with the group.  If you are interested in reading more on this topic, we recommend Family Biking:  The Parent’s Guide to Safe Cycling by Robert Hurst (2015).  To join a bike café, go here to register, and you will immediately get an email with the Zoom link.

There are many other great topics being planned.  Here is a tentative schedule for the next few months:

  • Bike mechanics - 10/21
  • Bike law (what to do in a collision, basic rules of the road) - 11/21
  • Bike bridges - 1/22

We also want to hear from you for additional topics.  Send your suggestions to events@fresnobike.org.



Fresno COG Traffic Safety Survey


The Fresno Council of Governments (Fresno COG) has a quick 5-minute survey where users can indicate on an interactive map any concerns about traveling safely on public roadways in Fresno County.  This is a follow-up survey to the one a few months ago where users shared traffic safety concerns.  If you haven’t already done so, please take the survey to indicate locations where you may have experienced close calls or have a suggestion for an improvement.



City of Clovis Active Transportation Plan Update


The City of Clovis is updating their Active Transportation Plan.  They are taking comments online using an interactive map.  Get your comments in right away, as the map will be available only until 5:00 pm on Friday, August 20.



Kearney Boulevard Bike Ride and Kearney Mansion Museum Tour


      Courtesy Matthew Woodward



The Kearney Mansion Museum event was a great success with 17 participants.  FCBC partnered with the Fresno County Historical Society for a guided tour of the Kearney Mansion Museum and a 6-mile group ride from Chandler Airport.  The mansion is one of the many historical jewels in Fresno, and it’s fun to go there by bike.  This event may be repeated in the fall.  



Legislative Update


Assembly Bill 122, which brings the “Idaho stop” to California and allows bicyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs.  After being sent back to the Transportation Committee, it has been back to the Senate floor.  As currently proposed, the California Highway Patrol would provide a report with safety data to the Legislature by January 2027, and the provisions of the bill would sunset on January 1, 2028.


Assembly Bill 117 would establish incentives for electric bicycles.  The bill was passed by the Assembly and went to the Senate and is now in the Transportation Committee undergoing amendments.


Assembly Bill 43 modifies the method that speed limits are set and gives more guidance as to when speed limits can be reduced an additional 5 mph from the 5 mph increment below the 85th percentile speed.  The bill was sent back to the Senate Transportation Committee, received amendments, and had a second reading.



Next Board Meeting


The next Board meeting is scheduled for Thursday, August 19 at 7:30 pm via Zoom.  Everyone is welcome to join the virtual meeting.  If you would like to participate, please send an email to info@fresnobike.org, and the login information and call-in number will be sent to you.



Membership


If you are not yet a member of FCBC or need to renew, please visit https://fresnobike.org/join to become a member or renew your membership.


Have a comment or suggestion?  Contact us at info@fresnobike.org

Fresno County Bicycle Coalition

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