Volunteers needed for upcoming events

Calling all volunteers!

Do you care about bicycling conditions and bicycling advocacy in Newark? Can you spare a couple hours of your time to help BikeNewark during one of several upcoming events that are happening from now through mid-October? Then, we need YOU.

Simply email BikeNewark and write “Volunteer” in the subject line and let us know specifically when you can help. If you can help more than once, that’s great too. Can’t volunteer? Consider a donation to help support projects that will further progress toward making Newark a more bicycle-friendly city.

Here’s what’s happening and how many volunteers are needed for each event.

City of Newark logoSunday, September 15 – Newark Community Day
(4 volunteers needed, 1 hour minimum each)
11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
BikeNewark tent near Delaware Ave. at The Green

BikeNewark web logoWednesday, September 25 – Bike Central
(2 volunteers needed, 1 hour minimum each)
10:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m.
BikeNewark tent near Delaware Ave. at The Green

BikeNewark web logoWednesday, October 9 – Bike Central
(2 volunteers needed, 1 hour minimum each)
10:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m.
BikeNewark tent near Delaware Ave. at The Green

Yes, we’re quite busy right through the fall. Thanks in advance for helping us out.

 

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Accomplishments in 2018

2018 proved a challenging year for BikeNewark, as a number of issues began to compete for our attention. Though we know that there is so much more work ahead, there were a lot of things we accomplished last year with our partners’ support.

Let’s take a look at what we did.

Bicycle-advocacy work involved

  • consulting with and providing input to Johnson, Mirmiran & Thompson on the Delaware Avenue two-way protected bike-lane project.
  • further refining Newark low-stress bicycle network concept and map in advance of initial production and application of signage on a “Central Loop.”
  • several members attending a series of UD-led Newark Futures workshops.
  • presence on behalf of the bicycling community at various City Council and city Traffic Committee meetings.

In terms of helping the City of Newark promote itself nationally, BikeNewark

  • Bronze seal art from the LAB for Bicycle Friendly Communitysubmitted LAB Bicycle Friendly Community application on behalf of the City of Newark. Newark received its third consecutive bronze-level designation, this time for 2018-2022.
  • submitted Places for Bikes application on behalf of the City of Newark. According to the data gathered by People For Bikes, Newark ranked 39th overall nationwide and 7th among cities with a population of 100,000 or less in terms of bikeability.

BikeNewark-organized or -supported events held during 2018 included

  • photo of 2018 Bike to Work Day participants (photo by Kathy Atkinson, courtesy of UD)the annual Bike to Work Day on University of Delaware campus on May 21 (successfully rescheduled due to poor weather). Keynote speaker was New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer. More than 70 participants came to the event, which was supported by 6 corporate sponsors. During the event, the annual Bicycle Friendly Community Leader Award was presented, and a Trek hybrid bicycle was given out as a random prize.
  • nine First Friday Rides (January and March events were cancelled due to poor weather). These social slow rides through Newark averaged about 25 participants.
  • two Newark Historical Buildings Bicycle Tours in the fall, in cooperation with Newark Bike Project. Each event drew between 10-20 participants.
  • photo of bike lights night volunteers and customera Bike Lights Night event on October 25 at the corner of North College Avenue and Main Street, during which 25 sets of lights, courtesy of UD, were installed free of charge.
  • four Bike Centrals in cooperation with the University of Delaware, Newark Bike Project, and DelDOT:
    • Spring event, during which 10 sets of bike lights were installed free of charge.
    • August 25, in coordination with UD’s 1743 Welcome Days, during which 6 sets of lights were installed free of charge.
    • September 12, during which 20 sets of lights were installed and 6 helmets were given out free of charge.
    • October 25, during which about 20 sets of lights were installed free of charge.
  • two BikeNewark Community Nights—June 21 at Handloff Park and October 26 at Wooden Wheels, attended by 31 and 50 participants, respectively.
  • the annual Mayor’s Fun Ride on June 2, which was a big success in terms of funding raised for bicycle-related projects.

4 bike safety tips in Mandarin ChineseOur public service involvement included

  • distributing bike-safety flyers in four languages—English, Spanish, Chinese, and French—to the English Language Institute. These were based on the “4 Safety Tips for Bicyclists” cards that were printed in January 2018 for use by partner organizations.
  • executing and posting results of a City Council candidates survey in advance of the April municipal election.
  • volunteering at the Walkable/Bikeable Delaware Summit in May, which was organized by Bike Delaware, one of BikeNewark’s partners.
  • hosting an information table during Newark Community Day (September 16).

Accomplishments in 2017

BikeNewark has been incredibly active this past year. It all began with redefining ourselves and becoming an official Delaware nonprofit corporation. Take a look at some of what we’ve done in 2017:

  • photo of BikeNewark chair Mark Deshon with grant check from White Clay Bicycle ClubThanks in large part to the efforts of our ad hoc organizational committee and a generous grant from the White Clay Bicycle Club, the partnership formerly known as the Newark Bicycle Committee became BikeNewark—a Delaware nonprofit corporation dedicated to local bicycle advocacy. BikeNewark.org was launched, as were our Facebook and Twitter accounts.
  • Participated on engineering-related committee with regard to the Delaware Avenue two-way protected bikeway project (a.k.a. “cycletrack”), scheduled for completion by summer 2019.
  • Advocated for green-backed sharrows to be added on both lanes of Main Street between the Pomeroy Trail and the Deer Park as part of the Main Street pave and rehab project, scheduled for completion sometime in 2019.
  • Supported recommendations of the Cleveland Avenue improvements Task Force before City Council, which it unanimously voted to approve on Aug. 14; scheduled for completion by 2021. A parking restriction and pedestrian scramble have already been implemented.
  • photo of BikeNewark members installing bike lights on a student's bike at nightIn conjunction with DelDOT, WILMAPCO, Newark Bike Project, and UD, we held several bike safety–related events primarily aimed at students (“Bike Central” and “Bike Lights on Demand”), during which bike lights were installed, bikes registered, and safety information distributed.
  • ON ROADS? obey signs and signalsSuccessfully executed a bicycle “civility” campaign with message posters designed by UD design students and co-organized UD Bike Days with the UD Student Government Association in cooperation with the City of Newark.
  • Helped organize the third annual Mayor’s Fun Ride and Newark’s annual Bike to Work Day event, both held in May each year.
  • Helped organize Bike to School Week at John R. Downes Elementary School, including a pop-up buffered bike lane demonstration, bike trains on the initial day, and a user-experience survey. Also involved in discussions related to the school’s Safe Routes to School grant.
  • Worked with DelDOT and the City of Newark to initiate a trial contraflow lane and related infrastructure on Main Street between North College Avenue and South College Avenue. Produced an educational video (see below) and related educational flyer showing how to properly use this new amenity. Performed post-installation data gathering.
  • With help from a new citizens’ group and the City of Newark, co-organized the implementation of a two-week pop-up mini-circle demonstration at the intersection of Orchard Road and Winslow Road to help show the positive effects of slowing while not stopping traffic at this and similar intersections.
  • diagram on satellite photo showing proposed trail connectorSupported two of the City’s Department of Parks & Recreation projects at City Council—2018 completion of the “Pomeroy Connector” trail between Creek Road and Fairfield Crest and the longer-range bike-ped Charlie Emerson Bridge to be built over White Clay Creek.
  • Organized monthly First Friday Rides in downtown Newark to combine the encouragement of bicycling downtown (especially on Main Street) with a social agenda. Co-organized a Newark Historical Buildings Bike Tour with the Newark Bike Project.
  • card art: 4 safety tips for bicyclists in NewarkPartnered with UD Police Department to design safety cards for bicyclists and pedestrians.
  • On behalf of the City of Newark, began working on Bicycle Friendly Community application to the League of American Bicyclists. The goal is for Newark to become the first city in the state to achieve “Silver” status.

We look ahead to 2018 and working toward achieving our stated goals as well as continuing with many of the above-noted activities. Want to help support BikeNewark? Get involved or support our efforts monetarily.

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).

 

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.]