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Support HB36, keep the “Delaware Yield”

excerpt from BikeNewark’s BFDA brochure that highlights safe yieldingBikeNewark asks that you contact your Delaware state legislators and urge them to support HB36, the bill that, if passed, would permanently add the “Delaware Yield” to the state’s Code.

The Bicycle Friendly Delaware Act (BFDA) that was signed into law by Governor Carney in 2017 was sponsored by multiple state agencies, including the Delaware State Police, DelDOT, Delaware Greenways, and many others. Part of this act includes the “Delaware Yield,” which makes it lawful for bicyclists to safely yield at stop sign–controlled intersections. However, there was a ”sunset clause” within the BFDA, meaning that the aforementioned feature can be removed from the law.

Similar versions of the law have passed in Idaho, Washington, and Oregon, with resolutions pending in other states and municipalities. One study from DePaul University’s Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development showed that “yielding to managing the intersection by cyclists is often safer than having them stop at the intersection” and “it makes laws more realistic for bikers that they can more realistically follow.”

Delaware has seen its own benefits, as data (below) from the Delaware State Police below compares bicycle crashes before and after the law was enacted in 2017.

“Delaware Yield” safety data from Delaware State Police

Officers elected for 2021-22

In December 2020, BikeNewark elected officers for its four board positions for the current two-year term.

photo of Bob McBride
Bob McBride, Chair

Bob McBride was re-elected as Chair for another two-year term. McBride grew up in Newark and retired here after a long career at a private school in Pennsylvania. In the past, he has been a member of the White Clay Bicycle Club, and he is currently serving on committee in The Newark Partnership. He is an avid recreational bicyclist and bird-watcher.

photo of Karen Rosenberg
Karen Rosenberg, Vice-Chair

Karen Rosenberg is now serving as Vice-Chair, succeeding Helga Huntley. In past years, she has been volunteering at annual Bike to Work Day events and maintains BikeNewark’s online calendar. Rosenberg has also been a regular attendee of First Friday Rides. She is on the Department of Anthropology faculty at the University of Delaware and bikes to work whenever possible.

photo of Karl Hassler
Karl Hassler, Treasurer

Karl Hassler was re-elected for a second two-year term as Treasurer. He also serves on BikeNewark’s Engineering Committee and was a key player on the ad hoc Organizational Committee back in 2016 as well as with the 2020 updating of BikeNewark’s bylaws. He’d remind you that if you can’t support BikeNewark with your time, you can donate to help enhance our efforts. Hassler is also a member of the White Clay Bicycle Club and a recent retiree from the University of Delaware.

photo of Christine Schultz
Christine Schultz, Secretary

Christine Schultz, one of BikeNewark’s newest Individual Members, is succeeding Dave Saunders as Secretary. She has been involved in recent years in the organization of Newark’s Bike to Work Day events and may be better recognized as BikeNewark’s smartly dressed “Bike to Work, Newark!” brochure “poster girl” (along with brochure counterpart Matt Kinservik). Schultz is a University of Delaware employee who also bikes to work whenever possible.

McBride, Rosenberg, Hassler, and Schultz will each be serving during 2021-2022, consistent with BikeNewark’s bylaws. Board member elections are held at the end of even years; board members must be Individual Members of BikeNewark, as defined in the partnership’s bylaws. The partnership thanks Helga Huntley and Dave Saunders for their service during the previous two years.

Note: Our partnership meetings are open to the public and typically are held on the third Thursday of the month at 4:00 p.m. They are currently being held via Zoom due to the pandemic. Want to help? Get involved!

Accomplishments in 2020

Though activity was definitely slowed in 2020 and several events were cancelled because of the pandemic, BikeNewark did manage to accomplish the following:

  • Was awarded $1,000 in funding from the White Clay Bicycle Club in the winter to be applied to the Newark Bikeways project.
  • Executed and posted results of a City Council candidates survey as public service in advance of the April municipal election.
  • RideShare Delaware "Biking 101" title slide graphicPresented two online seminars on bicycle commuting—“Biking 101” and “Commuting Safely by Bike with Children”—as part of co-host RideShare Delaware’s Delaware Commute Solutions Series.
  • Completed wayfinding signage design work for “phase 2” of the Newark Bikeways low-stress bicycle network project and ordered signage, in coordination with the City of Newark, for the North, Northwest, and West bikeway segments. Submitted a 50-50 matching-grant application to Delaware Greenways’ Future Trails of Northern Delaware coalition, which, if awarded, would defray half of the cost to BikeNewark of the “phase 2” signs. Plans for the East Bikeway segment were pushed to “phase 3.”
  • Partnered with the City of Newark on a grant request to the Delaware Bicycle Council for a bicycle-improvements project along Wyoming Road. A $15,000 grant was awarded to the City in Decemberfor a feasibility and preliminary design study of this corridor.
  • Designing Delaware Intersections for People event graphicHelped support promotion of the online Designing Delaware Intersections for People conference (held in November), which was organized by Bike Delaware, one of BikeNewark’s partners, and highlighted two intersections in Newark.
  • Began partnering with the Wilmington Trail Club and the City of Newark to plan for appropriate improvements to the Rittenhouse Trail, from Rittenhouse Park to Church Road.
  • Supported the A.I. Whoo COVID Vision Trail Safety Analysis that began in the fall.
  • What is a Sharrow? title frame showing sharrow symbolCompleted design and production of a three-minute safety PSA video on sharrows, which focused on the new greenbacked sharrows on East and West Main Street in Newark, partnering with WILMAPCO and the City of Newark and using raw video contribution from Caffé Gelato.
  • Participated with presence on The Newark Partnership and the city’s Transportation Improvement District (TID) committee.
  • Successfully revamped BikeNewark’s bylaws to more accurately reflect current operations and redefined official membership in the partnership—“Individual Member”—based on a fee paid per calendar year.

Safe Routes to School project takes shape

aerial photo of Casho Mill Road in front of Downes School
photo submitted to and published by Newark Post

photo of beginning of bike lane buffer on Casho Mill Road
Beginning of actual buffered lane

Nearly four years after initial meetings about submitting a Safe Routes to School grant application for a project on Casho Mill Road, things are finally taking (physical) shape. Striping has been added recently, and more will be added until this initial phase of the project is complete.

The project area is between Church Road and Pickett Lane.

photo of pop-up demonstration protected bike lane
Buffered lane demonstration, 2017

For a Bike to School event at John R. Downes Elementary School back in 2017, BikeNewark worked with volunteers from the University of Delaware’s chapter of Engineers Without Borders, who created pop-up buffered bike lanes to demonstrate how a finished project might look along this busy suburban road on which the school is located.

photo of a Bike to School Week bike train
School children arriving by bike, 2017

City of Newark staff have repeatedly noted that motorized traffic continues to dash along Casho Mill Road above the posted 30mph speed limit. Public Works & Water Resources Director Tim Filasky, who is one of BikeNewark’s partner liaisons, says, “It just feels like a freeway. This will tighten it up and slow traffic.” Ultimately, the City would like to have the speed limit reduced to 25mph, as it is on sections of Casho Mill Road on either end (north and south) of the project area.

photo of motorist's view of buffered lanes on Casho Mill Road
Motorist’s view of buffered bike lanes along Casho Mill Road, showing only a slight reduction in vehicle lane width while providing ample buffer for cyclists

BikeNewark has been involved from the inception of the effort, in coordination with the City, the school, Downes parents, WILMAPCO, and DelDOT. The idea is to make bicycling safer (especially for school children and their parents) and encourage more students in this vast residential area to ride a bike to school, rather than be transported there by car.

When the project is completed near the end of 2020, it will include a new crosswalk, a pedestrian-refuge island, curb ramps, traffic-calming islands, and radar-detected-speed signs.

BikeNewark’s planned West Bikeway (a segment of its Newark Bikeways low-stress network project) will intersect Casho Mill Road (and these SRTS amenities) at Lafayette Road and provide signed low-stress access to the school through the Oaklands and Nottingham Green residential neighborhoods.

> read related Newark Post article

Newark bicyclists: take the PeopleForBikes quick survey

You could win this bike. Take our 5-minute survey to be entered to win great prizes, including this bike.

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Everyone can participate regardless of where, how, if or why they ride.

For those who have already completed the survey – thank you! Your feedback will help determine your city or town’s score in the 2021 PlacesForBikes City Ratings.

We’d love for you to pass the survey link along to your friends and family so we can hear more about perceptions of bike riding in your town.

Together we can make bicycling better!

—The PeopleForBikes team