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BikeNewark hosts its initial Community Night

graphic for 2017 BikeNewark Community NightOn Wednesday, Dec. 20, from 7–9 p.m., BikeNewark will be hosting its initial Community Night. This will be an open house–type gathering held at the Newark Bike Project, 136 South Main Street, in Newark.

Come out and learn more about BikeNewark—the work we’ve been doing and the work ahead of us—and how you can become involved in “moving bicycling forward in Newark, Delaware.” Come and go as you please, meet and talk with members and partner liaisons, grab a bite to eat, sign up to volunteer, give us your suggestions, and maybe support our advocacy efforts monetarily.

Can’t make it in person but would like to show your support for BikeNewark? If you’re interested in helping by making a tax-deductible donation to help improve bicycling in Newark, Del., you can either use Pay Pal (click button below) or mail a check (payable to “BikeNewark”) to:

BikeNewark
75 West Mill Station Drive
Newark, DE 19711

PayPal - The safer, easier way to pay online!

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Newark’s New Contraflow Bike Lane

photo of contraflow laneThe City of Newark has a new feature on East Main Street for bicyclists—a pocket contraflow bike lane. Unique in Delaware, this trial project was a result of a partnership among BikeNewark, the City of Newark, the University of Delaware (UD), and the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT).

DelDOT completed the work of striping and signing this contraflow lane in July, and, now that UD students are back on campus, the lane will get its first big test. BikeNewark created an educational video and a one-page flyer to help show how this contraflow bike lane can be used safely and legally.

BikeNewark will be evaluating the success of this trial project, which will run through the 2017-18 academic year.

Download the flyer (PDF).

 

Bike to Work Day 2017

Bike to Work Day 2017 group photo

Bike to Work Day 2017 sponsor logosNewark’s celebration of National Bike to Work Day, by all estimates, was a big success, drawing nearly 120 riders to Mentors’ Circle on the University of Delaware campus for the early morning event.

The warm, sunny weather definitely helped increase the participation in this event from previous years, as did the great support in terms of sponsorship from the business community, which furnished the food and prizes for the random giveaways.

Several of the featured speakers rode in, each with one of several area “bike trains.” The largest and most impressive bike train was that of Bloom Energy. As University of Delaware Provost Domenico Grasso was beginning to officially welcome everyone, a group of 30+ riders from Bloom arrived, making their corporate presence known with team T-shirts.

The morning featured wonderfully encouraging bicycle-centric messages from New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer, state Sen. Dave Sokola, state Rep. Paul Baumbach, state Rep. Ed Osienski, and retiring Newark City Manager Carol Houck.

photo of Markell family with Mike Fortner and Mark Deshon
Event coordinator Mike Fortner (left) and BikeNewark chair Mark Deshon (right) presented the 2017 Bicycle Friendly Community Leader Award to former Gov. Jack Markell. Markell’s mother, Leni, and children, Michael (with award) and Molly, accepted the award on his behalf.

The City of Newark and BikeNewark presented the annual Bicycle Friendly Community Leader Award to former Gov. Jack Markell. Markell was in Italy on a bicycle trip, so his mother and children were there to accept the award on his behalf. Son Michael spoke glowingly about the influence his dad has had on him in terms of bicycling and giving back to the community.

A large group photo was organized, and then event coordinator Mike Fortner, one of BikeNewark’s liaisons from the City of Newark, made the morning especially happy for many who had stayed for the random giveaways as a formal conclusion to the morning’s festivities.

2018’s Bike to Work Day event in Newark will take place on Friday, May 18. BikeNewark looks forward to seeing you there.

Top 5 Crash Situations for Cyclists to Avoid

by Eric Minghella, Esq.

photo of a mangled bicycle after a crash with a carFor millions of Americans, cycling is the fastest, safest, and cheapest way to get from point A to point B. Unfortunately, cycling can also be a hazard if it isn’t approached with caution. According to a national study in 2012, there are over 36 unique types of bicycle crashes that can affect an out-an-about cyclist. Luckily, with proper preparation, the majority of all crashes can be avoided.

Before your next ride, learn the top five crash situations for cyclists and how you can avoid them.

1) Wrong-Way Riding (“Salmoning”)

Situation: You’re bicycling on the sidewalk or side of the road against the flow of traffic. Because vehicle drivers do not expect cyclists to be riding against the flow, this puts you at risk for a side-impact crash if the car turns without seeing you, or, worse, a head-on collision.

Solution: Ride with the flow of traffic. Riding against the flow is one of the most dangerous decisions a cyclist can make. While it may seem safer to see cars coming, it puts vehicle drivers at a big disadvantage by giving them much less room to gauge your distance, speed, and overall presence. In addition, most crashes with wrong-way riding are more deadly because both the cyclist and driver have little time to adjust their speeds before a collision. For these and many other reasons, wrong-way riding is illegal in the United States and should be avoided at all cost.

2) Sudden Driveways and Alleyways

Situation: You’re riding your bike along the street when a motorist from your right emerges suddenly from an unseen driveway. Their failure to stop or notice you leaves you with little or no time to get out of the way and avoid the crash. Similarly, a crash can occur in the reverse situation, if you emerge from a hard-to-see driveway and are caught unaware by a motorist on the street.

Solution: Be sure to drive defensively and forever be on the lookout for hidden drives. Even if it means scoping out your bicycle route beforehand or riding slower than usual, it is always better to be safe than in a dangerous situation. In general, it is also best to ride more to the left than you typically would, to give you more room to make yourself known to other nearby motorists.

3) Red Lights and Stop Signs

Situation: You’re approaching an intersection (or already in one) when you notice a car running a light or stop sign. Their speed and lack of attention leaves you no time to avoid what is potentially a very dangerous crash.

Solution: It is impossible to know when you will or will not encounter a motorist who breaks the law in such a dangerous way. However, there are general precautions you can take to be as prepared as possible. Try to communicate boldly and often with others drivers using waves, eye contact, verbal cues, or cycling signals. Even when you have the right of way, be sure to check for cars and stay alert to be sure it is safe to proceed.

4) Left Turns and Blind Spots

Situation: You’re passing through the crosswalk when a car turns left on their traffic signal light, failing to notice you before passing through the same crosswalk. Or, you may be making a right turn or passing through a separate crosswalk and the driver of a car doesn’t notice you in his/her blind spot, causing the driver to either cut you off or crash into your side.

Solution: As usual, stay as alert as possible when riding, especially when passing through intersections or crosswalks. Even if you have the right of way, know which positions are most difficult for motorists to notice, especially those that are far from left turns or near the blind spot on a car’s right side. Especially when trying to turn right around other vehicles, do your best not to stay on the right. When in doubt, wait behind a car and obey the same laws of traffic they follow to ensure you are best seen.

5) Getting Hit From Behind

Situation: You’re riding your bicycle along the road when a car approaches too quickly from behind, the driver either trying to pass you or simply not noticing you are there. This causes the vehicle to either clip your bicycle from the back, along the side or crash into you completely.

Solution: Depending on the time of day, be sure to wear clothing that alerts other motorists of your presence. This means wearing fluorescent or neon colors during the day, and wearing reflective colors during the night. Rear and fronts lights are also a very positive investment, especially when riding at night or near hard-to-see areas. [BikeNewark editorial note: At and after dusk and before dawn, front lights and back reflectors are required by law in Delaware.]

First Friday Ride in June!

Are you looking for a great way to spend this sunny first Friday in June? Well, look no further, because you have found the First Friday Ride organized by BikeNewark!

Join BikeNewark and Newark Bike Project (NBP) for a special First Friday Ride and after-party at NBP! First Friday Rides are free, slow rolls around downtown Newark, open to all ages and abilities. We’re gathering at the Newark Shopping Center on East Main Street at 5:15 p.m. and plan to cruise around downtown Newark, before meeting up at NBP at around 6:30 p.m. 18519442_1748825865151435_2264949953290685591_n

Our NBP party will feature:

  • Sushi and pizza, with vegetarian/vegan options
  • Soft drinks and BYOB (purchase in same building available)
  • Children’s scavenger hunt
  • Live music

First Friday Ride is free. After-party suggested donation is $10 for adults, with kids 12 and younger free.

Park for free courtesy of Newark Shopping Center. Helmets are strongly encouraged. A friendly reminder that riders agree to ride at their own risk. Cycling, as with any type of transportation or sport, has some risk. These are informal community rides, and the information provided here is as a public service to those interested in participating in First Friday Rides. It does not reflect any responsibility for the care or safety of those participating. Ride organizers and helpers are not responsible if you or your dependents get lost or hurt while riding your bike. You ride at your own risk and assume all responsibility for yourself, your children if attending, and your equipment.

Check out the route below!

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