New Brunswick Ciclovia is Coming!

Ciclovia7.12 eventKMM is getting ready for the next New Brunswick Ciclovia, coming on Saturday July 12th!

Ciclovia is an open streets event that encourages New Brunswick residents and visitors of all ages to get physically active through biking, walking, skating, and programmed activities on closed city streets. KMM is partnering with Safe Kids Middlesex County to bring mini bike skills course to Remsen Avenue.

The July 12th event features an all-new route that connects New Brunswick’s downtown and residential neighborhoods with the Cook/Douglas campus of Rutgers University.  Plan ahead and check out the Cicolovia map!

To learn more about the program, be sure to visit the New Brunswick Ciclovia’s website.

New Jersey Kick-offs New Pedestrian Safety Pilot Program

streetsmartStreet Smart urges all roadway users to obey vital roadway signs to prevent crashes

A new pedestrian safety pilot program is underway in Newark, Woodbridge, Hackettstown, and Jersey City. The “Street Smart” campaign, a collaborative effort between public, private and non-profit organizations, urges motorists and pedestrian to “check your vital signs” to improve your safety on the road.

The “vital signs” message reminds both drivers and pedestrians to pay attention and adhere to posted signage, which will make travel safer for all roadway users. For motorists, that means observing posted speed limits and stop signs, and stopping for pedestrians in marked crosswalks. If you’re on foot, use crosswalks and wait for the walk signal. If everyone heeded these signs, crashes could be prevented and lives saved. The message may seem simple, but it’s vitally important.

The campaign is long overdue. New Jersey ranks 14th in the nation in pedestrian fatalities and is designated a “focus” state by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Between 2009 and 2012, 565 pedestrians were killed and more than 17,000 injured on our roadways — that translates to one death every 2.5 days and 11 injuries daily. Last year, 568 people died in motor vehicle crashes in New Jersey — 25 percent were pedestrians.

At a campaign kick-off event held November 1 at the New Jersey Institute of Technology campus in Newark, representatives from the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority, which is coordinating the campaign in partnership with FHWA, the New Jersey Department of Transportation and the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety, joined with municipal and law enforcement officials, and safety and public health advocates. They unveiled the campaign message and outreach materials, and discussed the effects of speed on pedestrian safety. If a pedestrian is struck by a car going 20 mph or slower, the odds of survival are good. At speeds above 35 mph, the impact is likely to be fatal.

The campaign uses advertising, grassroots public awareness efforts and law enforcement to address pedestrian safety. Community groups are joining with businesses, schools, churches, hospitals, and non-profit organizations to post and distribute information including tips for all roadway users.

Police officers in the pilot communities are enforcing pedestrian safety laws. They’re focusing on motorists who fail to obey New Jersey’s law requiring them to stop for pedestrians in a crosswalk, as well as pedestrians who jaywalk. They’re also addressing speeding, illegal turns and distracted and inattentive driving and walking, which contribute to pedestrian-motor vehicle crashes.

Despite the program being piloted in these four communities, roadway users throughout New Jersey are urged to get on board. The goal of the Street Smart campaign is to reduce the number of pedestrian injuries and fatalities on all roadways. It is possible. Check your vital signs. Obey the law.  Lives are on the line.

 

credit: NJTPA

The Art of Bike Racks

“The Acorn City” – Raleigh, NC
“The Acorn City” – Raleigh, NC

Some have said that Da Vinci’s sketch books contain drawings of a bicycle.  This may or may not be true but we do know that a bicycle without pedal appeared in 1817.  It enjoyed limited popularity.  In 1870, the first all metal High Wheel Bicycle was introduced and named.   Bicycles have evolved considerably since those days and so have bike racks.

Right from the start, trees, signs, benches, and just about any other immobile objects have been used to secure bicycles.    U racks, wave racks, and bollards remain popular, but many cities are opting for more sophisticated designs.

The Bison in Norman, OK
The Bison in Norman, OK

The “bike station,” is an indoor or outdoor area that houses hundreds of bicycle.  It may also offer lockers, changing rooms, and rental, repair, and sales facilities, such as the one in WashingtonDC. (home.bikestation.com/bikestation-​washingtondc)

The Tomato outside a market Rock Hill, SC
The Tomato outside a market Rock Hill, SC

The Japanese have taken bike storage to a whole other level – below ground.  The bicycle is rolled onto a street level platform that whisks it away until retrieved by its owner. http://youtu.be/yIHrmN_ptJc

Some towns have re-invented the bike rack as street art.  Recently, we learned of the City Center Bike Rack Design competition in which the winning bike rack designs will be placed in City Center Philadelphia.  Other communities have launched or completed similar projects, with some interesting results.

Pay Attention

Pay-attention1I turned into the street and moved into the right lane.  The light was in my favor and I signaled my intention to turn right.  But, I slammed on my brakes as I made the turn because a bicyclist who ran his red light almost ran into me.  I sat there fuming as he pedaled away totally oblivious to the accident he almost caused.

But there’s more.  A few blocks later, I put on my left turn blinker.  The driver of a car approaching in the opposite direction signaled that he was turning to his left.  Thank goodness I paused a moment before taking the turn.  If I had not, the car left would have crashed into mine because the driver didn’t turn left at all.  He drove straight ahead even as his left turn signal blinked.

If we’re on the road as motorists, pedestrians, or bicyclists, we all have to be careful and watch what we’re doing.  Stop lights are for everybody, those who are driving, walking or bicycling.  Turn signals mean the motorist or bicyclist (who should know hand signals) intends to turn.

It’s real simple.  Pay attention.

The Shore Attitude – Beyond Summer

Beach%20Pic%201The bright sun streaming through your window wakes you up – it’s going to be another hot day on the Jersey Shore. You and your family put on bathing suits, t-shirts and sandals, and walk a couple blocks to that breakfast place for pancakes. Later, you load up the cart for the three block walk to the beach while your eldest rides off on a cruiser bike to meet her friends on the boardwalk. On the walk, you wave hello to your neighbors for the week and stop to chat, while your youngest tugs at your shirt to keep going – the waves are waiting.

Summer vacation is great time to experience the joys of living “car-lite” by walking and biking where you need to go, but why can’t we bring some of that lifestyle and attitude with us when it’s time to return to work and school? Here are some ideas.
Group your walkable errands.

Got places to go near your home or office? Instead of stopping there in your car on your way to/from someplace else, plan ahead and save those errands for an evening or weekend walk. You’ll get things done, and some exercise, too!

Meet the neighbors

While you’re out, take a moment to say hello. Pet the dogs, sniff the flowers, and take a moment to enjoy your neighborhood.

Encourage your children

Show your children how to get around their neighborhood on foot and by bike, then encourage them to make that choice. Don’t just drive them because you can, or because “it’s hottttt,” “it’s colllld,” “it’s raining,” or “I have a backpack.” Make sure they’ve learned and practiced crossing the street and bicycling safely.

Ride slow.

Just because you’re home, doesn’t mean you have to be racing your bike. Where would you ride at a leisurely pace? To the coffee shop? The pool? A friend’s barbecue?

Any clothing is bike clothing.

If you can ride to the beach in a bathing suit and flip-flops, you can ride at home in, well, anything that works for the weather. Wear a helmet, and use lights at night (a front white light and a red rear light).

 

Share the Road, Save a Life!

share-the-road1The warm weather has finally arrived and that means more people are leaving their cars behind and opting for pedal power to get to their destinations. Not only is this a fun way to explore the sights and sounds of the GardenState, but it also incorporates physical fitness into your day. And for many NJ residents, bicycling is the only form of transportation to get to and from work.

If you’re an avid bike rider, you’re probably aware of the rules of the road, but if you’re not very experienced, or just prefer to drive in the comfort of your car at all times, it’s important to remember that the road belongs to both bicyclists and automobiles. We need to practice mutual respect and follow all state and local traffic laws in order to reach our destinations safely.

New Jersey’s Motor Vehicles and Traffic Regulations laws recognizes bicycles as a vehicle and grants bicyclists all the same rights and responsibilities as any other automobile traveling along our state’s roadways. This means, that bicycles are permitted on all roadways, unless expressly stated otherwise, and must follow the same traffic rules and patterns as motor vehicles.

According to the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, there are an average of 173 reported bicycle accidents in MiddlesexCounty every year. In 2010, the National Highway Traffic Safety Commission reported 12 fatalities related to bicycle accidents throughout the state.

So what can we do to prevent bicycling accidents and fatalities? Bikeleague.org offers these common sense tips to bicyclists and motorists:

 

Bicyclists:

Obey all vehicle traffic laws, lights and signs

Use hand signals to signify stops and turns to other vehicles

Stay to the right of the road and always ride in the same direction as traffic

Wear bright colored/reflective clothing and a proper fitting helmet

Use front and rear lights when riding at dawn and dusk

Make eye contact with the driver of other vehicles and proceed with caution.

 

Motorists:

Reduce speed when approaching bicyclists

Do not tailgate or follow too closely; Give the bicyclist space

Yield to bicyclists and give them the right of way, do not try to beat them to the intersection.

When passing, leave four feet between you and the bike rider

Do not blast your horn next to a bicyclist, as this may startle the rider and cause them to lose control.

Make eye contact with the bicyclist and proceed with caution.

Remember the road belongs to everyone. Following these simple rules will ensure we all have a safe and happy trip.

Are you Ready to Ride?

2013logoMay is National Bike Month.

The mornings are bright, the weather is warm, and it’s a perfect time to start biking to work.

Here are a few things to keep in mind.

Know where to go
Take some time to map out your route before you start. The shortest route tends to be the busiest – going a little bit out of the way can lead you to quiet parallel streets for a more enjoyable ride. Other cyclists prefer the direct route – look for bike lanes and wide shoulders for a comfortable and speedy ride.
Get your bike in shape
Check over your bike to make sure it’s in good working order, especially if you haven’t ridden it in a while. Check the tire pressure, brakes, chain and gears. If in doubt, take it to your local bike shop for a tune up.
Ride safe
Riding predictably is the most important thing you can do when riding on the road. A bike is a vehicle – use your turn signals (your arms!) to let drivers know when you’re turning, and always obey traffic signs and signals. And always wear a helmet – it’s your last line of defense.
Be visible
Coming home late? Use a front white light and a rear red light – it’s common sense and it’s the law. Wear light-colored clothing and consider reflective gear.
Enjoy the ride
It’s spring! Take it easy and enjoy the blooming trees and fresh air.
Now that your ready, grab your helmets and get on your bike! 
Share your photos of your bike adventure with us by emailing us at cfowler@kmm.org!
~PB

Grab Your Helmets!

2013logoBicycling to work not only benefits our environment, but our personal health as well.  Dependence on the automobile harms our planet and can create unnecessary stress in our lives.  Choosing an alternative form of transportation,  like the bicycle, can help to improve pollution, traffic congestion, and safety concerns. It even saves you money!

Bike to Work Week is an international event that encourages commuters to ride their bike to work at least once during the week.  The event ultimately raises awareness about the ease of using a  bicycle for everyday transportation needs and the environmental and health benefits of doing so.

So grab your helmets and join KMM and bike to work.  Remember, biking to your school, train station or even biking while runnning errands qualifies as biking.  Everyone who registers for this program will even be entered to win tickets to a show at the State Theater in New Brunswick or Playhouse 22!  For all the details and to register, visit the KMM site and get biking today!

Safer Routes to School, All Year Round

Through a partnership with the New Jersey Department of Transportation and local communities and schools, KMM is making it safer and easier for children to walk and bike to school.  Walking to school is a fun and recreational exercise for students and parents. Children practice and observe safe pedestrian skills with the added bonus of arriving at school alert and ready to learn. In addition, by walking and biking to school children learn an environmentally friendly alternative to driving. In the big picture, reducing driving for school drop off reduces local traffic congestion, auto emissions, agirl_on_bikend traffic accident risk.

The biggest SRTS event of the year is Walk to School Day, held in early October. This year, we registered 19 schools in 14 different towns, representing 5,000 eligible students. Walk to School Day events included group walks to school, tables at the school entrance, and walks around the school neighborhood during the school day. In addition to stickers, worksheets, and bookmarks, KMM provided reflective zipper pulls for each participant and “We Take Safe Routes” banners to each school. Executive Director Bill Neary and staff members Peter Bilton and Vicki Becker helped at events in Milltown, East Brunswick, New Brunswick, and Highland Park.

This year, we’re adding a Spring Walk and Bike to School Day which will be discussed at a workshop in February. Also on the agenda are walking school buses, KMM’s Golden Sneaker contest, bike rodeos, and engaging walk and bike safety classroom or assembly presentations. To learn how you can bring a Safe Routes programto your school or register for our February 25, 2013, contact KMM.

~PB

Baby It’s Cold Outside – But Not for Biking!

Just because it’s cold out doesn’t mean you have to stop biking (to work, to school, to the store). A little extra preparation can make your winter cycling experience comfortable, safe, and fun. Plus, cycling through the winter is a great way to keep your New Year’s health and fitness resolutions!

MP900432901In dry weather you can cycle in your ordinary clothes, with a couple considerations for the cold: warm, wind-resistant gloves and a perhaps a thin cap that covers your ears and fits under your bike helmet. On the coldest days you may want to add a scarf to cover your mouth and nose, and extra-warm socks. Is your regular winter coat too thin for the cold wind of winter cycling? Just wear a fleece vest or light sweater underneath.

When the road is wet, fenders keep your clothes and shoes dry. An alternative is rain pants and shoe covers available at most bike shops. Thicker tires give more traction and control on wet or slushy roads. Ride a little slower than normal to maintain control of your bike.

Remember that it gets dark earlier in winter, so if you’re going to be riding in the late afternoon or evening bring your lights – a front white light and a rear red light. Also, consider wearing light-colored clothes or a reflective vest for even better visibility.

Enjoy your ride this winter!

~PB