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Please help us get some attention from politicians.


Petition in Support of Bicycling in North Texas

7 cyclists in the past 7 days have been hit by cars in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. 2 were killed, 1 is in critical condition in the ICU at last report.

It's all just too much. Recently a city council person said "Well there are not many people in my district who want to ride bikes anyway" Let's prove him and a whole host of others like him wrong.

This isn't just for the roadies or the mountain bikers - although we want you to sign it! It is for your neighbors whose kids ride to school, it is for the older couple on the corner who ride around the block. It is for anyone who in any way at all wants to see bikes on the streets without fear in North Texas. It is for those who would rather ride off the street, is is for those who will ride anywhere - and mostly - for those who won't ride at all given current conditions.

Please forward this to everyone and anyone - it will not be used for commercial purposes, it will be used to answer comments such as the one above with "Well sir, actually there are 1217 people in your district who WANT to cycle!" and be able to prove it.

Sign the petition -
http://www.bikepetition.eventbrite.com

We don't want to spam you or share your information with commercial entities. We really don't. We just want to be able to show up!
 

· Resident Curmudgeon
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"Well there are not many people in my district who want to ride bikes anyway"

See, he knows this because he's gone door to door and taken a poll.
 

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The petition is still up online and probably will be for a couple of years. We are getting close to 10k signatures. It doesn't happen overnight - and we didn't expect that it would go as fast as it has.

Paper petitions would be great, but then to make the information useful - ie to be able to divide it all out by city and that sort of thing to present it to city councils, we would need somebody to enter all of that data into the list.

In addition - there are some basic questions on the petition from which we are getting some information that is way too useful to skip. On a a paper petition, I am not sure people would take the time to complete that information.

We are not adding these signatures or their emails to our general email list - or to anybody elses for that matter. The information will be used to print a list of signatures to present to the various city councils across the region.

There is a lot that needs to happen here. No one answer works everywhere. I personally would probably never ride in a bike lane, but there are probably places where they would be appropriate. However - without motorist and cyclist education even bike lanes, signs, route markings and ordinances won't help. No facility will be useful unless folks understand how to treat each other on the road, and understanding how to treat each other on the road may make a lot of the facilities unnecessary.

Joe public tends to think that all cyclists ride in packs, wear bright colored spandex, block traffic and run stop signs. That is a perception we have to work to change. It starts with ourselves. I am on a personal mission to stop at every stop sign in the metroplex over the next year!

This is the official stance of BikeDFW:

Dallas Morning News - Community Opinion

Eric Jackson of Bike DFW: Share the road
Dallas Morning News 12:00 AM CDT on Friday, July 18, 2008

Eric Jackson is the president of BikeDFW, www.bikedfw.org. His e-mail address is eric.jackson @bikedfw.org.

Bicyclists are on the streets to get to work, go to the store, see a movie, get exercise, visit family and friends and for all of the same other reasons as motorists. In addition, gasoline is over $4 per gallon and the region risks federal sanctions if we don't improve our polluted air. Mass transit is moving forward and is a great thing, but is a long way from being able to serve a majority of the North Texas residents (and bicycles are a great link to mass transit systems). Obesity and lack of activity are growing health problems.

For North Texas, cycling is a much bigger solution than it is a problem. Here's a look at what needs to happen for bicycles and motor vehicles to safely coexist:

MOTORISTS – Cycling is a form of transportation, and bicycles belong on the streets (as recognized in the Texas Motor Vehicle Code). Cyclists pay for streets through all forms of taxes, just as motorists do. Treat bicycles as you would motor vehicles – whether passing, at stop signs, street crossings, etc. You can coexist with bicycles as long as everyone is patient and considerate of all users of public facilities. Learn about interacting with bicycles. You can have very little inconvenience due to bicycles (delays due to cyclists are most often 10-30 seconds, not minutes), avoid the penalties related to hitting cyclists and make the metroplex a better place to live.

BICYCLISTS – Follow the laws. Stop at stop signs and traffic signals – every time. Ride as close to the right as possible if the lane is wide enough for both a bicycle and a car; if not, you should control the lane for safety. Don't ride more than two abreast; change to single file when cars approach and you don't need to control the lane. Choose your roads carefully emphasizing safety and your impact on motor vehicle traffic. In Dallas, Fort Worth and other cities, on-street bicycle route systems are a good start. Be considerate and polite to other users, including pedestrians and cars. If a car gets held behind you on a narrow street, consider helping it pass in a reasonable and safe way.

LAW ENFORCEMENT – If cyclists break traffic laws, issue warnings and citations just as you would to motorists. Take it seriously when motor vehicles hit cyclists, run cyclists off the road, or otherwise harm or threaten cyclists, and issue the proper citations or charges. Don't trivialize car-bicycle incidents and let drivers off if they are guilty of an offense or negligence.

GOVERNMENT – As gasoline gets more expensive and North Texas air quality in continues to be poor, more people will cycle. Work to accommodate cyclists on our streets. Implement on-street bike routes with signage and pavement markings. Make traffic signal sensors sensitive to bicycles – many aren't. Improve access to public transit for bicycles; DART and The T are moving forward with this and need to push even harder. Consider the impact to cyclists of all new projects – make facilities safer and access better at every opportunity.

Education is a key. Cities should include inserts in utility bills and place announcements online and on their cable channels related to cycling. Local media – newspapers, radio, and television – can spread the word.

This not only can, but must work out for all who live and work in North Texas. We can conquer this issue; many other cities, including Phoenix, Denver and Tucson, have shown that it can be done. The time for North Texas to start has passed; the time to act is now.

Eric Jackson is the president of BikeDFW, www.bikedfw.org. His e-mail address is eric.jackson @bikedfw.org.


By the way the "mythical city councilman" was my own - right here in Carrollton - but we hear similar comments from other officials from time to time.
 
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