Sunday, September 24, 2017

bikes for basic transportation and as mobility devices

I was having a conversation with someone yesterday about the problem of drivers who think that bikes are only for recreation and should be out of their way, off the street. People who only drive and don't ride often fail to grasp the basic reasons why many people ride.

I know quite a few people who use bikes as their primary transportation and don't own cars. For them, a bike is for visiting friends, hauling groceries, taking young children to day care or school, and many other purposes.

Some people I know choose bikes for other reasons. If someone has a medical condition that makes it unsafe for them to drive (such as epilepsy or poor vision), they may ride because driving is not an option. Riding a bike gives them freedom and allows them to get around without having to depend on someone else to give them a ride.

A growing number of seniors use utility trikes as an alternative to driving - for grocery shopping, going to socialize with friends, to visit the library, etc.
Utility trike

Recumbent trike
I recently met a woman with multiple sclerosis whose ability to walk is very limited. She rides a recumbent trike and straps her cane on the side for use when she gets off the bike. She is able to drive, but she likes having another option that lets her gets some aerobic exercise and enjoy fresh air. A friend with epilepsy uses a recumbent trike as her favorite form of exercise and transportation.

Our bike infrastructure and traffic laws should accommodate all types of riders, regardless of what they ride and why they ride.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

when ADA creates new problems

The installation of new ADA curb ramps across the city has definitely been a mixed bag. Some of them are very well done. Some create moats whenever there is any significant moisture - counter-productive when you're trying to improve walkability, and even worse in winter when the moats turn into mini skating rinks.

Then we have the special case of corners where a multi-use trail crosses a busy street, like the intersection of 87th, Damen and Beverly Blvd.  Sometimes large groups ride through this intersection, and these newly installed ramps create potential hazards.

Crosswalk for Damen - nice wide ramp, safer design
I rarely see anyone crossing here.
Ramp for crossing 87th, following Major Taylor Trail -
forces a sharp turn. Traffic waiting to turn (just out of frame to the left)
usually limits opportunity to use EB ramp as spillover space for riders
trying to go SB and get across 87th during one light cycle.
If you're riding with a group of people trying to get across
87th during walk signal, competing with turning cars,
does having this edge that could cause someone to fall
seem like a good idea?
Southwest corner - 87th at Beverly Blvd.
If you were riding from the opposite corner with a group of people
trying to get across 87th,  would you want this raised corner
in your path of travel, or would you want something like the corner shown below?
No hard edges next to curb ramp
Doesn't an installation like this make a LOT more sense 
for a location where a trail is crossing a busy street?
We need MUCH better oversight over contractors doing these ADA curb ramp installations.  Too many mistakes like this are made, causing close calls, accidents and injuries that could have been avoided.

Friday, September 22, 2017

non sequitur Friday

Take a few minutes to listen to his thoughts on music.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Friends of the Major Taylor Trail meeting on Mon. 9/18

Friends of the Major Taylor Trail will meet on Mon. 9/18 at Ridge Park fieldhouse (1817 W 96th St.), 7:00 to 8:30 pm.

For those who aren't familiar with our group and what we do, we are a non-profit advocacy group working to improve and maintain the Major Taylor Trail and promote its use. We have an active working relationship with the Chicago Park District, Forest Preserve District of Cook County, Openlands and other non-profits and government agencies. We organize volunteer workdays, bike rides and other events.

We'd love to have your ideas and help with future events and projects. Please join us! Everyone is welcome.

non sequitur Friday

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Dan Ryan Woods habitat restoration workday on Sat. 9/9

It's great to get outside. Come out and volunteer at Dan Ryan Woods this Saturday 9/9 from 9:00 am-noon for Friends of the Forest Preserves' monthly habitat restoration workday. This one is a special seed gathering workday.

Tools, gloves, and training provided. If you have work gloves you like, bring those. Wearing hiking boots or work boots is recommended.

Meet at the 91st St. parking lot (just north of the 91st St. Metra station).  Please contact Benjamin Cox at 773-398-1178 or for more information and to let him know if you plan to attend.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Tree ride on Sunday 9/10

Would you like to learn the identity of this grand old tree and more about trees in Beverly and Morgan Park? Come out for an easy-paced 10 mile bike ride. You don't have to be a TreeKeeper to learn more about our trees.

Optional lunch/mead stop afterwards at Wild Blossom Meadery.

It's happening on Sunday 9/10 from 10 am to 1 pm. We'll meet at the Dan Ryan Woods 91st St. parking lot, just east of Beverly Blvd. If you're driving there, the easiest access is from 91st and Ashland - go west on 91st across the Metra tracks and it's on your left after the Major Taylor Trail - just before the cul de sac. We'll see many familiar species and some uncommon ones.

FYI - I've been a volunteer with the Openlands TreeKeepers program for several years, helping with tree planting and tree care here in the neighborhood, along the Major Taylor Trail and in other neighborhoods across the city. It's a great experience and I highly recommend it.

Watch this space for info about future workdays to take care of neighborhood trees. I am partnering with Openlands  in offering this ride.

Friday, September 1, 2017