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.

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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).

 

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.]