Sunday, August 30, 2015

Let's See The Sights (and sites) On A Sunday Morning

Nothing like a bike ride to the Strip and downtown to keep up with things in Las Vegas.

Let's check out the sights.

On the 215 Beltway trail, it looks like a memorial of some is growing.

Looks like the arena behind NY-NY is coming along/

City of Las Vegas with some good ol' fashion street banner marketing.

This downtown law firm uses Tide.

The Downtown Project micro park is hanging in there, but they've moved to the plastic plants after the real ones turned to toast.

Remember, every traffic lane is a bike lane -- so no problems on Alta Drive.

This bike lane on Alta Drive just west of Rampart in front of Suncoast casino hotel is way too narrow.

As Usual, Florida Is Deadliest State For Bicyclists

We keep calling it "bicycle safety."

But it's really a "motorists killing bicyclists" issue. And once we understand that, and teach motorists to change their behavior, we can start lowering the bicyclist fatality rates in the U.S..

For as long as I could remember, the state of Florida was the number one state in the nation for bicyclist fatality rate.

Florida is the top bicyclist fatality rate again, according to this Tampa Tribune story.

I'm nearly three years removed from living in Florida.

But I will never forget the hostility by motorists toward bicyclists plus elected officials' reluctance to step up for bicyclists and devote public resources to bicycling (except for former Hillsborough County Commissioner Mark Sharpe and former St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker.)

When I lived in Tampa, the former mayor at the time, Pam Iorio, was no leader on the topic.

And when I lived in Tampa, the local Florida Department of Transportation office in Tampa blamed bicyclists for our deaths -- an obvious blaming the victim approach.

As I said in this story by the Tribune, an overhaul of motorist education to teach motorists from the start that bicyclists are part of everyday traffic is necessary. It means motorists will have to change the way they driver (stop driving so fast, careless, on their cell phones and inattentive).

When teens and young people want to drive cars, our state DMVs and DOTs can teach them to not engage in distracted and risky driving habits that imperil the lives of bicyclists and to understand that bicyclists are simply co-users of the public roadways.

This from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "While only 1% of all trips taken in the U.S. are by bicycle,1 bicyclists face a higher risk of crash-related injury and deaths than occupants of motor vehicles do.2 In 2013 in the U.S., over 900 bicyclists were killed and there were an estimated 494,000 emergency department visits due to bicycle-related injuries.3 Data from 2010 show fatal and non-fatal crash-related injuries to bicyclists resulted in lifetime medical costs and productivity losses of $10 billion.3"

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Pedaling Yentas Make It To The Top

What a motley bunch of pedalists -- Kevin the Review-Journal photo chief; along with two doctors, Scott and Ben, and, of course, Anthony, doctor of pizza-ology. Together, we're the pedaling yentas, a bunch of middle-age guys cycling at 8,000 feet in the Spring Mountains near Mount Charleston.

You're looking at a celebratory photo depicting the end of the climb, a mostly uphill 14 miles before we reversed field and headed back to the Spring Mountains Visitors Center on Kyle Canyon Road (about 6,600 feet elevation.)

We start biking up Deer Creek Road, which connects Kyle Canyon Road with Lee Canyon Road and eventually the Las Vegas ski center. Below is Anthony after biking about five miles up the mountain.

There's Kevin cycling on Deer Creek.

The docs -- Ben and Scott -- set the pace.

What amazing scenery.

Now, it's time for the descent and ride back to the visitors center.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Top 10 Things Motorists Should keep In Mind About Bicyclists In Nevada

Dear Gov. Brian Sandoval, Troy Dillard of the Department of Motor Vehicles and Rudy Malfabon of the Nevada DOT,

On Aug. 15, I sat near the back of a church in Las Vegas for the memorial for Matthew Robert Hunt. I never met Matt, but he loved bicycling and had recently started a bicycle touring business.

As a fellow bicyclist in las Vegas, I felt a kinship and wanted to pay my respects for Matt, who was riding his bicycle when he was killed by a motorist. He died Aug. 9 from injuries he sustained while bicycling on Aug. 3 in Las Vegas.

I was moved by the words of his mother, Cynthia Finnegan, who delivered a eulogy that focused on the things she learned from her son. Then, Matt's brother-in-law, Steven Thompson, offered a tribute. Not a dry eye in the church. Matt was 37 years old when he left a wife and two small kids.

Matt was the eighth bicyclist to be killed in Las Vegas this year. That's one a month in 2015 and I'm sure you agree it's disturbing trend.

So, what are we going to do?

I have a few ideas.

Ten, in fact.

It would be nice if you could share the word with motorists in Nevada:

1. I know, accepting change as an adult human being can be so hard but it’s time to accept that bicycles are here to stay on our roadways. The days of telling bicyclists to go and ride on the sidewalk are over. Which leads us to . . .

2. Bicyclists are part of traffic. Don’t tell bicyclists that they are slowing down traffic. Here’s why  . . .

3. Bicyclists are simply slower moving vehicles. They are co-users of the road. So . . .  

4. When passing a bicyclist, motorists are required to pass with a distance of at least three feet between your car and the bicycle. And you are supposed to move over a lane if there’s a second passing lane. Also . . .

5. Don’t get angry about seeing a bicyclist pedaling down the middle of a lane. Bicyclists are taught in classes to take the lane. That’s because on narrow traffic lanes, the lane width is too narrow to pass a bicyclist so simply wait until there is no oncoming traffic and pass the bicyclist then. And keep this in mind . . .

6. You’re concerned that you can’t drive as fast as you’d like if you are behind a bicyclist. A bicyclist is concerned that he or she will be run over by you. The weight of the concerns are not equal. And another thing to remember . . .

7. Yes, car motorists and bicyclists are co-users of the road, but your vehicle is a two-ton missile and a bicycle is a 25-pound moving vehicle. If your car strikes a bicyclist, it could mean death or a catastrophic injury.

8. Bicyclists take safety classes. Motorists also need education. Every 10 years, a motorist should be required to take a class on how to interact with bicyclists on the road.

9. Road exam should include a bicyclist on the course and if a motorist fails to properly pass or interact with a bicyclist, then it means a failed test.

10. Eight dead bicyclists in the first eight months of 2015 is unacceptable. But we can change this in the future with some education and a change of attitude.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Drainage, Las Vegas Style

Pedaling Yentas Return To The Red Rock Loop

The bicycling yentas were back in action this morning as Scott and Anthony returned from August trips and we yentad it up while pedaling up the steep hills of the Red Rock Scenic Loop.

Scott has returned from a trip to Alaska, which included taking a side plane ride to glaciers, spending time at a wildlife preservation clinic, watching bears munch salmons and bicycling parts of a 230-mile paved trail out if Anchorage.

Meanwhile,  Anthony caught us up on taking the family to Disneyland and taking his oldest son to Southern Utah University in Cedar City.

We're all from New York, so all conversations are held in New Yorkese, of course.

All the time, we're pedaling amid this


Friday, August 21, 2015

Relief To Summer Temps Are Here -- Especially At Dawn

It's August 21 and summer is moving into its final month.

It's been a blistering past week in metro Las Vegas with temps in the 105-110 during the day.

But the days are growing shorter and there's less light earlier in the mornings, which means it's also cooler. As in 71 degrees cooler as I biked on 159 out of Summerlin to the Red Rock Scenic Loop.

There were more bicyclists on the Loop than motorist at 6:30 a.m. Always a good sign.

I have already counted today as a good day because I have cycled the Scenic Loop.