This was fun! Friday, a couple Missoula bike people presented some ideas from the bicycle symposium they attended in Seattle.
I wanted to share a little bit more from the brown bag session hosted by BWAM, the Bike Walk Alliance for Missoula. Jackie Corday, of Parks and Rec, and Ben Weiss, bicycle pedestrian coordinator, provided the update.
Below is a list of bullet points with some interesting tidbits that came up and didn’t make it into the story.
First, though, two things. Bob Wachtel, with the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board, had a word of advice to teenagers debating whether to cruise the downtown drag in four wheels or two.
“If you’re cruising up and down the Hip Strip on your bike, it’s much easier to latch onto those chicks.”
Also, it sounds like presenters at the Seattle Bicycle Urbanism Symposium stressed the key to getting more people onto bikes is to make riding appealing to women. That means lanes that are separate from cars and feel safe, and it got me wondering if gender equity could be, should be, incorporated into transportation policy.
Alright, here’s more from the presentation, in order of my messy notebook:
— A 2012 study of 20,000 school kids showed that biking accelerates the mental development of children. In other words, it improves both physical and mental fitness.
— In the Netherlands, biking is so much a part of the culture that children in the third grade need to pass a bicycle safety test to advance. It’s as important as any math or reading test.
— The more cyclists that are out and about, the safer biking becomes. That’s because bikers become more visible and drivers get used to watching for them.
— One way to promote biking is to make heroes out of people who bike. “Have you seen Jim Nugent?” asked Councilman Alex Taft. Nugent, the city attorney, can be seen in his yellow rain suit and a helmet with the American flag.
— To try to corral its growing number of walkers and bikers, one community is pouring an asphalt section of trail next to a concrete section of trail. The idea is walkers are used to concrete and will use that portion, and bikers typically ride on asphalt, so they’ll gravitate in that direction.
— Some large campuses have bike hubs where people can work on their bikes. Nancy Wilson, with the Associated Students of the University of Montana’s Office of Transportation, said one is pending for UM. If approved, it would be similar to the one Mountain Line operates downtown.
— The way to build support for bike infrastructure is to explain how it increases safety. Parents want their children to ride to school safely.
— When announcing meetings, meeting planners should remember to give directions for people who are traveling by bike or bus.
— Travel lanes can be just 10 feet wide and still move a lot of traffic. A street in … (Copenhagen? Portland? Seattle? I didn’t catch it) shows that to be the case.
— The Montana Department of Transportation doesn’t want lanes more narrow than 11 feet on Russell Street.
— Since the 1990s, the Missoula Redevelopment Agency has spent $8 million on trail acquisition, construction and improvements.
— Helmets are a tricky thing. They keep your noggin safe, but women don’t like the way they mess up their hair, and at least one study shows drivers give bikers without helmets a wider berth.
— Every person on a bicycle gives car drivers more room on the road.
— Keila Szpaller
Photo credit: KS, ProCamera app, alien filter.