Category Archives: advocacy

Yay Columbus! Yay Safe Streets Ordinance! Yay Bikes!

What exactly does the Safe Streets Ordinance say?

  • clarifies that a bicycle IS A VEHICLE,

  • clarifies as the safe passing distance between a car and a bicycle as 3′, and most larger vehicles and a bicycle as 6′,

  • adds a specific ban for motor vehicles in bike lanes, with some exceptions,

  • clarifies the law to specifically prohibit motor vehicles from “right/left hooking” bicyclists,

  • requires bicyclists to not text, and to yield to emergency vehicles,

  • allows police officers, firefighters, parking enforcement officers, and special improvement district ambassadors to ride bicycles on sidewalks in the performance of official duties,

  • allows the Public Service Director to to add bikeways and bicycle parking on streets,

  • corrects conflicting language in the parking code,

  • brings traffic code into compliance with portions of state laws, and

  • adds gender inclusive language.

For more details, view 2014 Safe Streets Ordinance Fact Sheet or click to view the actual legislation.

Big thanks to Council Member Michelle Mills for sponsoring this legislation and shepherding it through the process to law, Council Members Zach Klein and Troy Miller for co-sponsoring, and Council Member Eileen Paley for meeting with Yay Bikes! leadership about this legislation back in 2012. Additional thanks to Leslie Strader, Policy Advisor from the Mayor Coleman’s Office of Environmental Stewardship, and Randall Bowman, Assistant Director of Public Service for meeting regularly with bicycle advocates as this legislation was being crafted.

Thanks to the 31 Yay Bikes! members who attended the last two City Council Meetings and the Public Hearing in the last week to support passage of the Safe Streets Ordinance: Rahel Babb, John Bannon, Heather Bowden, Jane Boyer, Jay Cheplowitz, Ken Cohen, David Curran, Jack Decker, David Docktor, Bill Ferriot, Ray George, Catherine Girves, Jeff Gove, Gloria Hendricks, Rob Hendricks, Talon Hendricks, Trace Hendricks, David Hohmann, Cartik Kothari, Kai Landis, Keith Mayton, Duane McCoy, Nik Olah, Joe Powell, Steve Puhl, Jr., Oulanje Regan, Gary Schmidt, Barb Seckler, Scott Ulrich, Jim Williams, and Megan Zale.

Finally, our work on this would not have been possible without those of you who financially support Yay Bikes! You rock.

Yay Bikes! Yay Us! You YOU!!

 

Safe Streets Ordinance – Testimony of Catherine Girves

Good evening President Ginther, Environment Chair Mills, Co-Sponsor Klein and Miller and to the remaining honorable members of Columbus City Council. Thank you for this opportunity to speak to you tonight. My name is Catherine Girves and I am the Executive Director of Yay Bikes! Tonight I am delighted and honored to be here representing the 517 members of Yay Bikes! Yes, Council Member Mills we have added 5 members since we were here last Tuesday.

Yay Bikes! is thankful to Columbus City Council for consideration of 1182-2014 the proposed “Safe Streets Ordinance”. This ordinance showcases our City’s commitment to peaceful streets for all users – transit riders and operators, motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists.

As a year round bicyclist, (yes I road here tonight in a skirt and heels), I can tell you from personal experience that bicycling is good for the physical and emotional health of individual riders. But what many don’t realize is, that when people choose bicycling as a mode of transportation everyone in the community benefits:

  • Commuter bicyclists protect the public health of the entire community by reducing carbon and other green house gas emissions protecting air quality for all, particularly our most vulnerable members of the community.
  • Commuter bicyclists reduce dependence on fossil fuels protecting the environment, economy, and national security of the entire community.
  • Like pedestrians, commuter bicyclists increase the safety and community cohesiveness of the neighborhoods we ride in, often functioning as informal block watches.
  • And when people Discover Columbus by bike we see an economic impact. Yay Bikes! leads “How We Roll” rides teaching bicyclists to ride streets legally, visibly, and predictably. Immediately following, participants take a short test. When asked how likely participants are to return to places they were introduced to on these rides, 75%-77% respond they are very likely and an additional 20% report they are somewhat likely to return to those locations. When we conduct a 6 week follow up survey we find that 53.3% have already returned to a place they were initially introduced to on a “How We Roll” ride. When asked about favorite moments on these rides, 29% name a specific business, 26% name downtown Columbus and its sites, and 23% respond Experiencing Columbus and learning more about the community.

This Council’s investment in the safety of bicyclists that travel our streets is an investment in the entire community.

Finally, investing in commuter bicyclists is an investment in social justice. Some of us who travel by bike, do it out of economic necessity. Protecting the safety of commuter bicyclists protects the safety of working class people traveling to work, school, shop, and back home to our families.

Thank you.

Safe Streets Ordinance – Testimony of Rob Hendricks

Hello, Council Members. Thank you for your time. My name is Rob Hendricks and I live in Linden. I am a cyclist, my wife is a cyclist, my 13 year old son is a cyclist, and my 8 year old son is a cyclist. We don’t just ride for fun, we ride for transportation. We learned early on that cars, trucks, and buses will try to squeeze past us on the road almost every chance they can get. On my commute to work, I have been forced off the road on a regular basis, I even had a school bus physically contact me in my shoulder, forcing me off the road. Just last week, my wife was forced off the road by a passing truck, going fast enough and close enough that the wind made her bike shudder, almost forcing her to completely lose control. Passing a safe passing law and educating the drivers about its existence will help us to return from work safely to our children. It will give us room for our family to get to our destination and return home safely together. Regardless of the comments in the Dispatch articles, we are not trying to outrace Lance Armstrong, we are Fathers, Mothers, Sons, Daughters, Brothers, and Sisters just trying to get from point A to point B.

Photographed by Rachael Willet of Willet Photography
Photographed by Rachael Willet of Willet Photography

 

Safe Streets Ordinance Hearing – Testimony of Catherine Girves

Good evening Council Member Mills. Thank you for this opportunity to speak to you today. My name is Catherine Girves, I’m the Executive Director of Yay Bikes! and am honored to be here representing our 512 members.
Yay Bikes! is thankful to you and the other members of Columbus City Council for consideration of 1182-2014 the proposed “Safe Streets Ordinance”. If adopted, this ordinance helps to clarify appropriate interactions between motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians – creating an even clearer commitment for safe and peaceful streets for all users.
The Yay Bikes! Board of Directors is particularly pleased with the following components of this legislation:

  • clarifying that a bicycle is a vehicle in the definition of vehicles and throughout the legislation,
  • clarifying that the law explicitly prohibits motorists from “left or right hooking” bicyclists,
  • clarifying that bicyclists are protected under the law from being doored by motorists, and
  • affirming that motorists must pass cyclists at a safe distance and defining a safe distance as at least 3′ for automobiles and 6′ for most commercial vehicles

We are particularly appreciative of the many opportunities provided to Yay Bikes! and other advocates in the community of bicyclists to respond to earlier drafts of this legislation and for the thoughtful responses given to all comments. This legislation has clearly been influenced by those of us who ride the street on a daily basis. Thank you.
We are here tonight to support this legislation and are excited about coming back to Chambers next week when Council is scheduled to take action on this proposed legislation. This ordinance is a wonderful step in the direction of creating peaceful streets for motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Thank you.

Safe Streets Ordinance – Columbus

Columbus City Council, Mayor Coleman’s Office, and the staff of Public Service have spent the last two years studying and drafting legislation to create safer riding conditions for bicyclists on Columbus City streets. The Safe Streets Ordinance (1182-2014) is scheduled to be introduced to Columbus City Council on Monday, June 16th at 5pm. This will be followed by a public hearing on Tuesday, June 17th at 5pm, and is currently scheduled for a vote on the evening of Monday, June 23rd.

This legislation helps to clarify appropriate interactions between motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. The Yay Bikes! Board of Directors is particularly pleased with the following components of this legislation:

  • clarifying that a bicycle is a vehicle in the definition of vehicles and throughout the legislation,

  • clarifying that the law explicitly prohibits motorists from “left or right hooking” bicyclists,

  • clarifying that bicyclists are protected under the law from being “doored” by motorists, and

  • affirming that motorists must pass cyclists at a safe distance and (drumroll) defining a safe distance as at least 3′ for automobiles and 6′ for most commercial vehicles. (Yipppeee!!!!!)

  • Oh ya, it also creates gender inclusive language in the parts of the code it touches. Pretty nice touch.

If this sounds as good to you as it does to me, join your friends in bicycling community supporting this legislation by putting on your bike helmet and attending one, two, or all of these opportunities. All meetings take place in Columbus City Council Chambers in City Hall at 90 West Broad Street. Enter the building from Front Street and the guard will direct you in the appropriate direction.

If you are feeling particularly thankful and articulate, plan to fill out a speaker slip to testify in favor of the legislation. Testimony is limited to three minutes, so prepare to concisely make the case for why you think this is a good idea for Columbus. Have more questions? Feel free to reach out to me, Catherine Girves at 614-371-8232, catherine@yaybikes.com