Friday, June 23, 2017

Siskiyou Velo

Southern Oregon's Premier Cycling Club

2016 Ed/Advocacy Program

The Club’s 2016 education/training and advocacy program, as currently conceived, will have five elements:

  • Bike education and training (through the Medford Parks and Recreation Department) in collaboration with the Rogue Valley Transportation District (RVTD),
  • Club ride leader education and training related to group riding techniques and skills (including group riding best practices),
  • Approach Medford Police Chief to initiate a bicycle driver diversion program.
  • Motorist education (i.e. safe passing distance), and
  • Participation in RVTD’s Rogue Community Challenge and Go By Bike scheduled for May 9 – 15, and May 16 – 20, respectively.

 

Education/Training

The Medford Parks and Recreation Department welcomed the following course proposal:

Course Title: Bicycle Street Smarts

Description:  This fast-paced four hour class will give you the skills to drive your bike confidently through town. Course includes hands on and on-road instruction. Students will be taught and have an opportunity to practice avoidance maneuvers in a parking lot as well as enjoy an on-road experience that includes quiet residential streets, minor arterials, multi-lane low- and moderate-speed arterials. Participants will earn a certification from the American League of Bicyclists Traffic Skills 101 course by completing a free online course available at bikeed.org/courseintro.aspx.

A certificate is issued following completion of the online course and this class. BRING A COPY OF THE TEST RESULTS TO CLASS TO BE CERTIFIED (a mandatory requirement for all DIVERSION participants).

Please arrive with a safe, operating bicycle, helmet and water bottle.

Course logistical requirements: a paved parking lot roughly 100’ X 40’

Audience: Adults and children over the age of 10. Children can participate only with a parent/guardian.

Day of week/time: A Saturday/10:00 am

Maximum Class size: 10

Suggested Cost: $35

 

Club ride leader education and training

Leading a group ride requires special knowledge. There is a information void in the Club’s education materials related to this specialized area of cycling. A comprehensive review and development of a best practices document would help to:

  • Provide greater consistency in the “driving” behavior of the Club’s groups,
  • Elevate ride leaders understanding of group dynamics on the road, and
  • Bolster the safety of Club members riding in groups.

The development of the document would rely upon research, review, and discussion among the Board to develop a coherent approach to this topic.

The Club’s Ed/Advocacy Committee recommends the following approach:

  • Compile a team of 4-5 riders. We’ll use the Club members email list to ask for volunteers and select them from the different ride levels.
  • Work with that team to define the rules, and find supporting Youtube videos to drive home the point, and add some humor. We’ll try to include at least the 4 most active ride leaders as a sounding board in the development process (if they are not on the team); just to get their buy in.
  • Present the first draft to the board and process feedback
  • Finalize the rules with the board’s blessing
  • Publish these rules on our web site
  • Use the Club member email list to distribute, on a weekly basis, one rule with supporting video material, when available. If all rules have been sent individually, then start again.
  • We’ll encourage ride leaders to focus on the specific ‘rule-of-the-week’ before the ride…..just a couple of minutes…not 20+minutes

Club ride leader and member education and training related to group riding techniques and skills (including group riding best practices) will also be integrated into a ride leader education/training course that will be periodically offered.

 

Medford Bicycle Drivers – Diversion Program

Background:  During a, not so long ago, Ashland Police Department (APD) staff meeting, citation statistics for bicycles raised concern. Even with Ashland’s high bike traffic volumes fewer than 2% of all citations were written for bike violations. One obstacle to increased enforcement was the high cost of fines and consequent reluctance of judges to convict. Another was the obvious fact that issuing a citation didn’t teach safe bicycling practices.

Under Oregon statutes, bikes are vehicles. The same rules govern a bike driver as a car driver. Cyclists riding the wrong-way against traffic and failure to stop at traffic control devices (including stop signs) were often ignored. Cyclists, like motorcyclists, are especially vulnerable to the unintended effects of these unsafe behaviors. Even if the cyclist avoids injury, others may be put at risk avoiding them.

Through the joint initiative of private citizens, councilors, and APD staff, an outline of a diversion program was conceived; those convicted would be offered the option of paying the almost $300.00 fine or attending a diversion class at a cost of $70.00. The class would be based upon the League of American Bicyclists, Traffic Safety 101 class. The diversion concept was subsequently presented to Ashland Judge Turner who enthusiastically expressed her support.

 A similar diversion program in Medford would have the following benefits:

  • Improve cyclists adherence to the law,
  • Improve overall traffic safety,
  • Educate and train cyclists rather than simply fine violators (see below),
  • Create an opportunity to build cooperation and collaboration between the City of Medford and the bicycling community, and
  • Relieve police officers of attempting to educate bicycles of the dangers inherent in violation DMV codes.

 

The Program:  Siskiyou Velo’s bicycle education and skills training class consists of an on-line course and a four-hour skills development session. The skills training takes place in two environments: 1) a small parking lot, and 2) on-the-road. The later takes place in normal traffic situations. The students are graded on their performance; including a written test and bike operation. A grade of at least 75 percent, on all elements, must be achieved to pass.

The primary focus of the instruction is to convert bike “riders” into drives of vehicles. Most cyclists operate as pedestrians/bicyclists, not as operators of vehicles. By changing that behavior the bicycle drivers become more predictable and more obedient of the vehicle code. This reduces vehicular conflicts and the potential for collisions.

 Results:  Police officer awareness and understanding of bicycle operation and use has grown. Many did not see the need to enforce the vehicle code for bicyclists. They believed that bicycles were toys for recreation. The education of APD management and officers has been an import component of this program.  There is currently no data available to measure the program’s impact on cyclists collisions and crashes.

 

Motorist education (i.e. safe passing distance)

Goal: Increase the awareness of and conformance with bike passing laws by the motoring public.

Methods:

  • Guest editorials in local papers (Medford, Ashland, and Grants Pass)
  • Letters to the editor (as above)
  • Targeted mailings to fleet operators in Jackson and Josephine Counties including transportation, utilities,  trucking and construction equipment operators
  • Distribute electronic copies of the “Change Lane to Pass Bicycles” sign to Oregon based bike clubs
  • Placement of “Change Lane to Pass Bicycles” sign on the rear of Rogue Valley Transportation District (RVTD has offered provide the bus billboards as an in-kind donation to the Club’s motorist education program – an estimated $2,000 contribution).
  • Purchase paid advertising to place the “Change Lane to Pass Bicycles” graphic in local and regional publications (including, unless it is otherwise made available at no charge, the Oregon Department of Transportation’s – Moving Ahead with ODOT publication)
  • Formally ask that the “Change Lane to Pass Bicycles” sign be installed on County, ODOT, BLM and USFS roads in Jackson and Josephine Counties. Initiate an on-line petition to demonstrate the breadth of support.
  • Absent installation by the Counties and State, install “Change Lane to Pass Bicycles” signs outside of rights-of-way along roads and highways in rural areas of Jackson and Josephine Counties everywhere road shoulders are narrow and the travel lane is too narrow to share
  • Secure public service announcements on local broadcast TV – promoting “Change Lane to Pass Bicycles”
  • Request auto insurance companies (notably AAA and Safeco) distribute the “Change Lane to Pass Bicycles” graphic to their customers
  • Request the “Change Lane to Pass Bicycles” graphic be printed on AAA and ODOT State Highway maps.
  • Request the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles use the “Change Lane to Pass Bicycles” graphic in the driver’s manual and include a related question on future versions of the State’s driver’s test
  • Request Jackson County and other law enforcement offices that provide diversion courses (to cited drivers for violation of the Oregon Motor Vehicles Code)  include the “Change Lane to Pass Bicycles” graphic in their education materials and related tests

 

The above uses the “Change Lanes to Pass Bicycles” term to describe both a MUTCD approved sign as well as the Club’s associated graphic (see below).

Implementation – after April 2016

 

Rogue Community Challenge / Go By Bike

RVTD’s program will run from May 9 through May 20. RVTD, through a series of events and celebrations, hopes to increase cycling. The Club will have opportunities to participate in some of the activities. A Club/RVTD ed/training session is planned during this timeframe. The Club’s involvement in an informal evening gathering which is envisioned to include educational posters and short demonstrations (flat tire/saddle back inventory, roadway safety, etc.

Outreach efforts to minority populations through workplace presentation is also envisioned.

One or more joint events between the Club and SOU Bicycle Club may be possible.