Thursday, August 30, 2007

Small Change for Bigger Change

Via Team Armada:

"[T]oday I came across something that I consider a great idea. While reading this week's RoadBikeRider newsletter, I came across a tip submitted by roadie Michelle C. of Griffin, Georgia. "An 'investment' in goodwill and safety for roadies."

"In the constant struggle to make peace with auto drivers, I stumbled onto a clever idea while on a Saturday morning ride.

We made a store stop to refuel. I found myself at the checkout standing next to a boy about 7 and what appeared to be his grandfather. I spoke to the youngster, who was gawking at my kit and shoes with wide-eyed amazement.

My chocolate milk and water cost $2.70. I gave the cashier $3. I hate change on the bike because it rattles and annoys me, so I smiled at the young man and handed him the 30 cents and told him to put it in his pocket. You would have thought I gave him a hundred dollars.

But perhaps more importantly, his grandfather was genuinely impressed with such a simple act of kindness.

Perhaps for 30 cents I purchased one driver who next time he encounters a cyclist will slow down and move over because it might be that nice person who made his grandson smile. And in a few years maybe that little boy will ask for a bike like mine and take to the road."

Again, this is a great idea, and something to consider next time you are given the opportunity to help all cyclists by doing something as simple as giving some loose change to a kid.

ProBikeProWalk Florida '07 -- Vision and Progress

FBA's ProBikeProWalk Florida Conference for 2007 is now a wrap, and boy did we cover some ground! We kicked it off Monday with an elected official's luncheon featuring Canada's Gil Penalosa, who put cycling facilities and programs and walkable communities in the political context they deserve: the smart leaders are the ones who recognize the value of walkable and bikeable communities. Some of the officials were particularly interested in the Ciclovia concept.

Monday afternoon saw the kickoff of the Florida Traffic Justice Coalition, with leaders in law enforcement, the judicial system, engineering, education, and bicycling advocacy expressing their desires for a safer street system for ALL users, and developing the beginnings of a strategy, with core principles and short term priorities. (More to come on this in a later post.)

The Conference itself ran from Tuesday morning to Thursday afternoon, beginning with impassioned welcomes from City of Orlando Commissioner Patty Sheehan, and Orange County Commissioner Linda Stewart. Metroplan Orlando Executive Director Harold Barley challenged the attendees to "get cranking and step it up!," because "We are poised at a moment in which cycling and walking are increasingly seen as parts of the solutions to important global issues: health, climate change, energy costs, urban sprawl, traffic safety, and child development. Walking and bicycling shouldn’t be seen as sacrifices for the common good, but as liberation from a broken system."

The Conserve by Bike Study, ordered by the Florida Legislature and recently released by the Florida Department of Transportation, was a popular topic of discussion. The report shows strong preliminary justification for the provision of bicycling facilities, showing that such facilities do indeed increase cycling, and that the increase in cycling results in significant savings in gasoline consumption, CO2 emissions, and health costs.

The Conference finished up with concurrent meetings of FDOT District bicycle and pedestrian Coordinators, and of local coordinators. Such meetings offer unique opportunities for professionals to strategize ways in which the bureaucracy can function better for cyclists and pedestrians. Look forward to a compelling effort by FBA to communicate key remedies in this area to the Governor's office.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Parramore Kidz Zone Ride

FBA worked with Get Active Orlando (the City of Orlando's active living advisory committee) and Parramore Kidz Zone, a non-profit providing recreational and cultural opportunities for kids in the historic, low-income, African-American community of Parramore on the near west-side of Orlando, to put on the first Pedaling 4 Pride Ride on July 28. The Bobbies and Orlando Police Department were important volunteers.

About 100 kids (and some adults as well) turned out for the short ride around the neighborhood. We don't recall ever seeing such a happy and appreciative bunch of kids.

Like many low-income neighborhoods of late, Parramore is struggling with a significant uptick in crime. Many of the kids reported it was the first time they had felt safe traveling around in their neighborhood for quite some time (if ever).

Another ride is tentatively scheduled for January, and serious discussions are on-going about helping the community start an Earn-a-Bike program and/or a Major Taylor club.

This is how we build a positive cycling culture!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Spokes 'n' Folks Changes URL

In order to minimize confusion between the names and URLs for FBAs blog "FlaBikes" and the Spokes 'n' Folks blog (at, Spokes 'n' Folks has changed its URL to Please change your bookmarks accordingly! Thanks JHop!

Traffic Justice Coalition of Florida

In Orlando on October 27, 2004, five-year-old Angelica Velez and her two-year-old sister Victoria crossed four-lane Goldenrod Road in a crosswalk with their mother. Ashley Townsend, age 22, ran the red light and killed the two girls as their mother watched in horror. Ashley was allegedly talking on her cell phone at the time. This tragedy brought intense attention in Central Florida to the need for improved motorist behavior and justice in our traffic system, but it was merely one of many such tragedies. The legal outcomes of this and similar incidents should address not only how careless drivers are punished; we must find ways for our justice, engineering, and education systems to help prevent such crashes in the first place.

Poor driving behavior is rampant in Florida. According to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles there are over 120,000 licenses revoked each year, and another 29,000 suspended due to points alone. Over 114,000 motorists were convicted of driving with a suspended or revoked license in 2006; for all types of criminal driving violations there were over 235,000 convictions. 2.8 million non-criminal citations were handed out to Florida drivers in 2006.

Florida’s fatal crash rate is rising while the national rate drops; it is rising faster than our population. The cost of this mayhem falls hardest on our streets’ most vulnerable users – pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists -- but all users of our roads are affected. It is an injustice that we permit the careless and reckless to continue to wield such power, while those who present little or no risk to others are discouraged from using our streets.

The former president of Boston University Dr. John Silber said, “The only standard of performance that can sustain a free society is excellence.” Considering the destructive power wielded by those in motor vehicles, we must raise our expectations. As humans we almost always fall short of our goals, so a goal of mere adequacy in motor vehicle operation inevitably results in too many incompetent motorists. Our goal must be excellence. Dr. Silber went on to ask, “[D]o we have the right as citizens in a free society to reject excellence on behalf of others who may not be so foolish?” No; the vulnerable among us deserve excellence behind the wheel.
Florida Bicycle Association invites you to join us to discuss problems and solutions, to build a coalition with a vision for change and plan for action, at the first Florida Traffic Justice Coalition meeting at the ProBike®/ProWalk Florida Conference in Orlando on August 27th from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the Downtown Embassy Suites Hotel, 191 E. Pine Street. While legislative solutions are certainly on the table, we’re looking for more; for creative approaches to changing the culture to one with high expectations for users of our public ways.

The format of the meeting will be as follows:
1:30-2:00 Overview, why we are here, encapsulate issues, break-out instructions
2:00-3:45 Focus groups
3:45-4:00 Break
4:00-4:15 Recap group discussions
4:15-4:30 Next steps

Mohandas Gandhi said, “You must make the injustice visible.” That is the first step. Only when injustice becomes fully visible and the voices of the victims are heard can we understand what is needed to remedy it.

Please join us for this important meeting. There is no fee, however, if you wish to attend the ProBike®/ProWalk Florida Conference, visit for details. Please contact Conference Director Bill Richards at 352-377-8342 or by email at regarding your availability to attend the Florida Traffic Justice Coalition meeting.

ProBike®ProWalk Florida 2007

ProBike®ProWalk Florida 2007
Healthy Community Makeovers:
Designs and Programs for Active and Healthy Lifestyles

August 27 - 30, 2007
Orlando, FloridaEmbassy Suites Hotel Downtown

You should attend if:

  • You walk or ride a bicycle
  • You care about your community
  • You care about the environment
  • You are an educator
  • You want to make a difference
  • You have a program or idea to share
  • You are a health or safety professional
  • You are an elected official
  • You are a member of Law Enforcement
  • You work for a planning or transportation entity
  • You work for a state agency or department


Monday August 27— Pre-Conference Workshops
Tuesday August 28— Morning

  • Welcome— Orlando Commissioner Sheehan and Orange County Commissioner Linda Stewart
  • Keynote Speaker—Gil Penalosa
  • FBA—Annual Awards
Tuesday August 28—Afternoon Eight Breakout Sessions
Wednesday August 29 — Sixteen Breakout Sessions
Thursday August 30—Morning Eight Breakout sessions
Thursday August 30—Afternoon Post conference sessions
Mornings—group walks around downtown & Lake Eola
Evenings—bicycle rides and/or walks
All the time—networking