During the past 6 weeks we have led more than 40 transportation planning and design professionals — via the Connect Columbus project and MORPC-funded professional development rides with Columbus Public Service, MORPC and ODOT employees — on educational rides throughout the city, in groups of 1 to 5 people
You read that right. MORE THAN 40 TRANSPORTATION PROFESSIONALS.
And over and over, we’ve heard how the experience of riding with us has helped participants reconsider their approach to infrastructure design, as well as how they’ve been inspired to make these rides standard operating procedure for all transportation professionals, both locally and throughout the state. Here’s just a taste of the feedback we received:
“[My favorite part of the ride was]…being able to see the integration between the designs on paper, the cyclist themselves, and the driver interaction and how it all comes together. There are definitely eye opening things when riding out on the streets first hand and I would recommend all designers/operations people experience it to have that background knowledge.”
Wow. See THIS is how infrastructure advocacy is done, folks. One intimate ride at a time, with the teams who determine what is designed and what is funded. Getting professionals out on bikes, making connections between designs on paper and the lived experience of bicycling — well, it just makes all the difference. So this is what we do at Yay Bikes!. It’s why we’re unique.
It’s also why we ask for your support. Because teaching people well takes something more than a brochure or a video or a list of tips. It takes a thoughtful, meaningful interaction that fosters learning and growth. Which is, admittedly, quite the investment of organizational resource — but one that we can already see will prove long on returns for Ohio’s bicycling community.
On July 21, 2015, Yay Bikes! ride leaders Catherine Girves and Meredith Joy, along with trusty sweeps Steve Puhl Jr and Julie Walcoff, led a group of 8 Ohio Department of Transportation professionals on a tour of bicycle facilities on Columbus’ South and East sides. This group represented the Safety Team, aka the folks determining which safety projects — including bicycle infrastructure projects — throughout the state will receive funding. Most of them had ridden trails but not roads, and a couple hadn’t ridden a bike since childhood, so this ride proved the first urban riding experience for our group.
Split into 2 groups of 4, the cyclists rode a challenging 10-mile (or 12-mile, if they were in the accidental wrong-way group!) route beginning at the Grange Audubon Center and hitting the following streets: Front, Main, Grant, Town, Parsons, Livingston, Ohio and Champion, Oak, Washington, Gay, Broad, 3rd, Fulton, High and Whittier. Along the way, they got to experience sharrows, bike lanes to nowhere, bike lanes in door zones, unmarked narrow lanes, freeway on- and off-ramps, multi-lane one-ways and more. As well as the overwhelming heat of the day and, of course, the typical sights, smells & sounds that make bicycling so damn lovely. Everyone was heroic! Everyone was also very very hungry when we sat down to share our delicious post-ride meal at El Arepazo.
As our region continues to grow, Central Ohio must be prepared with innovative transportation solutions to address increasing infrastructure needs. The Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP) is a long range planning document that brings together local governments from around Central Ohio and other local, state, and federal agencies to identify and coordinate transportation goals, policies, strategies and projects over the next two decades.
For the entire month of August, an interactive map is available for you, (yes, YOU!) to provide input. It can be accessed here and includes the MORPC transportation planning area of Delaware and Franklin counties, Bloom and Violet townships in Fairfield County, New Albany, Pataskala and Etna Township in Licking County and Jerome Township in Union County. The map provides ways for you to suggest projects by drawing on the map or sending an email, and allows you to comment and follow comments on projects already being considered. The types of projects include:
On-street bicycle facility
New or improved transit service, such as bus or rail
Other roadway projects such as roadway diet or access management
New roadway or widening of a roadway
New or modified freeway interchange
If you do not have access to the internet, visit your Neighborhood Pride Center or the reference department of your nearest library to review a printed copy of the projects or to view the projects on-line. Comments can be submitted on the interactive map, by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or in writing to MORPC, 111 Liberty Street, Suite 100, Columbus, Ohio 43215, Attn: Thea Walsh, by 5 p.m., Monday, August 31, 2015.
Twenty-six people gathered to explore and learn to ride the roads of the Northland neighborhoods by bike on Friday, July 17, 2015, as part of the third Connect Columbus public input process. Some were transportation planners and engineers. Some were members of the general public. Some were experienced bicyclists learning to navigate roads they have not felt safe navigating on their own. Some were well trained Yay Bikes! leaders and sweeps, there to facilitate a moment of experiential learning. It was a blast!
We started at the Franklin County Board of Elections at 1700 Morse Road where our eight ride leaders and sweeps divided everyone into small groups. Each team of Yay Bikes! How We Roll ride leaders started by sharing rules of the road for bicyclists and teaching participants the importance of being visible and predictable when riding roads. Team leaders explained that in How We Roll rides participants travel single file in small groups riding the roads silently. Our goal is to help create an experience where small group instruction happens, and participants encounter something similar to riding roads alone.
A full week of studio sessions at the Franklin County Board of Elections building at 1700 Morse Road present another round of opportunities for you to share transportation ideas for your neighborhood and the City of Columbus! Stop in for 20 minutes or as long as you like to share your thoughts with the planning experts. Workshops include:
**Yay Bikes! has been hired to lead a guided tour of Northeast Columbus that introduces cyclists to several types of roadways and bicycle infrastructure, and prepares them to safely and confidently navigate traffic. This ride is open to the general public! It will cover:
How the roadways and their infrastructure supports and/or complicates bicycling
Bicycle traffic law
Proper lane positioning
Avoiding common crashes
Interacting peacefully with motor vehicle traffic
Q&A on any additional bicycle-related topic of interest
As of June 11, 2015, Catherine Girves has officially been appointed as a member of the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC)’s Central Ohio Greenways (COG) Board. Her term will run through December 2016.
The COG Board will be a standing board on the Sustainability Advisory Committee that guides the economic and environmental sustainability activities of MORPC and its working groups. The board will provide input and direction on matters of regional importance as they pertain to trails in Central Ohio, addressing such topics as trail development, marketing, funding, education and programming. Its vision is to increase trails and trail usage for recreation and transportation.
We have so many people to thank for making this year’s Ride of Silence experience such a meaningful one:
Event Planning Chair—Kathleen Koechlin
Planning Team members—John Bannon, Eliza Farrel, Rob Hendricks, Pat Landusky, David Curran, Jeff Gove, Rahel Babb, Abby Rhodebeck
Sponsors—Ohio Department of Transportation, Westerville Bicycle Club,
Speakers—Mark Gibson (reading the Ride of Silence poem), Columbus Chief of Police Kim Jacobs (her comments are here), State Representative Mike Stinziano (his comments are here), Yay Bikes! Executive Director Catherine Girves (her comments are here).
The following is the full text from Chief Jacob’s comments at the Ride of Silence. We thank Chief Jacobs for her presence at the event and for her work to ensure the safety of everyone in our community.
My name is Kim Jacobs and I’m the Chief of Police for the City of Columbus. I’m here to speak and ride with you tonight on behalf of Mayor Coleman.
Recently many of us took to the streets to celebrate National Bike to Work Day. That was a fun and exciting day, seeing so many cyclists together making a statement. Today, the statement we make is a somber one as we remember and honor those who have tragically been killed or injured while riding a bike.
Many of you probably read about a great city employee, Bill Lewis. Bill and his intern Stephanie Fibelkorn were walking to a meeting, and had nearly made it to the bus stop just a block from where we stand now, when they were hit and killed as a result of a reckless driver. No, Bill wasn’t on his bike at the time, but he was using a public street, like we all do when we ride, with full rights to be there. Bill spent many years of his professional life advocating, planning and designing roadways to accommodate all users. We will continue this important work always in his memory. We miss him and fondly remember him and the others who have been killed while cycling.
The following is the full text from Catherine Girves’s comments at the Ride of Silence.
2/21/2014 Frederick Carey
3/18/2014 Zachary Kerns
3/22/2014 Joe Giampapa
5/8/2014 Cleo Turpin
5/30/2014 Glenn Barna
5/30/2014 Lafayette Orr
7/18/2014 Dorothy Miller
8/8/2014 Harvey Bell
The list goes on . . . and on . . . and tragically on.
My name is Catherine Girves, and I am the Executive Director of Yay Bikes! Tonight we join thousands of others worldwide in a silent slow-paced ride to honor and remember people who have been injured or killed while riding their bikes on public roadways.
But we are not just here to remember, we are here to act so that another name is never added to the list of those we’ve already lost.
You were given a card when you arrived that will help you take action to create peaceful streets in our communities.
If you live or work here in Central Ohio, I ask you, I beg you, to participate in the planning process currently taking place to decide what our streets will look like for the next 30 years. The next set of public meetings for the Connect Columbus plan are from June 1st through the 4th. If you can’t make a meeting make comments on the web site, attend a future meeting, make sure your voice is heard. Make sure we are planning for safe streets for people who ride bikes.
At the Statewide level, I ask you to remind your legislators that roads need to be safe for those who ride bikes. Call or write your State legislator and ask them to co-sponsor HB 154 a law that would require people driving cars to give people riding bikes at least 3 feet when passing.
And at the Federal level – our wonderful Secretary of the US Department of Transportation, Secretary Foxx, has issued a challenge to every Mayor in the United States. The Mayors Challenge for Safer People and Safer Streets raises the bar for creating safe conditions for bicyclists and pedestrians. Mayor Coleman has accepted this challenge and the Department of Public Service is working in every area of the challenge. If you are not from Columbus, return to your home community and ask your Mayor to follow in kind.
Further, I make a personal ask of each of you. Ride roads in ways that are visible and predictable. Take the space you need to ensure your visibility to people driving cars. Signal your intentions to change lanes. Stop at lights and stop signs. Ride no more than two abreast. And ask every other person you ride with to do the same. In your everyday behaviors create safer streets for all.
I will not have another one of us lost. Join Yay Bikes! in demanding action in good street design, legislation to protect vulnerable road users, and enforcement of laws that protect people who ride bikes. Support us in educating people how to ride roads lawfully.
In a few moments we will head out to ride, two abreast on public roads. Maintain your position once we start. Silently honor those we have lost.
The following is the full text from Representative Michael Stinziano’s comments at the Ride of Silence. We thank Rep Stinziano for his presence at the event and for his work to protect Ohio’s vulnerable road users.
I appreciate the invitation from Yay Bikes! to talk about the Ride of Silence and safety in our community. I am Representative Michael Stinziano and I am working within the Ohio House to improve safety for all road users.
In Ohio, an average of 1 person died or was seriously injured each day in bicycle-related crashes last year.
In just the Columbus region, there were 24 bicyclists involved in crashes, resulting in 21 serious injuries and three fatalities.
It is vital that drivers and bicyclists share the road. One death or injury is too many.
Research shows that one issue contributing to these crashes is speed. I recently introduced legislation to help combat the issue. If HB 107 is enacted into law, it will allow residents to petition a speed limit change for their own community. We feel that people lining in our diverse neighborhoods understand the traffic patterns they live with on a daily basis.
I am also co-sponsor of HB 154 which would require motorists to give bicyclists at least 3 feet when passing.
Safety is everyone’s responsibility. Many of you know the faces representing these tragic deaths. This event honors our loved ones who have been harmed on Ohio roads and improves awareness for all road users.
Everyone has the right to be on and use Ohio’s roads.