Yesterday, in a 41-20 vote, the California State Assembly passed SB 910, the 3-foot passing distance bill co-sponsored by the California Bicycle Coalition and the City of Los Angeles. Now the bill goes to Governor Brown for signing. Once SB 910 is signed into law, motorists will be required to give bicyclists at least 3 feet of clearance when passing from behind. California looks to be the 21st state to enact a bicyclist’s safe passing law.
“Active Transportation” is the term used to describe any of the modes of transport that involve human power such as bicycling and walking. Obviously, we’re enthusiastic promoters of active transportation, and for good reason. Did you know that half of the trips in the U.S. are within a 20-minute bike ride, and a quarter of the trips are within a 20-minute walk, yet the vast majority are taken by automobile?
Among many other benefits, active transportation:
- saves valuable time and improves health by combining exercise with a practical activity;
- provides substantial financial savings to individuals by reducing automobile use;
- reduces government spending by reducing the need for road maintenance;
- benefits the environment by reducing automobile emissions;
- saves lives by reducing the number of automobiles on the road; and
- generally improves our quality of life.
In 2008, the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, in conjunction with Bikes Belong, published a comprehensive report on the benefits of active transportation. The report attempts to quantify the positive results of past federal spending on active transportation while making the argument for increased investment in infrastructure to support active transportation going forward. Here’s an excerpt:
Decades of car-centered transportation policies have dead-ended in chronic congestion, crippling gas bills, and a highly inefficient transportation system that offers only one answer to most of our mobility needs—the car.
Investment now in a more diverse transportation system—one that provides viable choices to walk and bike, and use public transportation in addition to driving—will lead to a far more efficient use of transportation resources.
Active transportation is the missing piece in our transportation system.
Half of the trips in America can be completed within a 20-minute bike ride, and a quarter of trips are within a 20-minute walk. Yet, the vast majority of these short trips are taken by automobile. Bicycling and walking can also improve public transportation by providing fast and well-planned access to it. Given the availability of safe and convenient infrastructure, more people will choose bicycling or walking for short trips and in combination with public transportation for longer trips. Further, communities conducive to bicycling and walking promote a richer and denser mix of residences and businesses, leading to shorter trip distances, even for those who drive.
The report is a must-read for anyone interested in the future of active transportation in the U.S.
The newly formed Cycling Embassy of Great Britain is hosting a poster competition to raise awareness of their organization and develop publicity materials for their physical launch.
From their mission statement:
An Embassy, free from the burden of history, legacy and ties, created to work in partnership with fellow organisations and charities in Great Britain, mainland Europe and around the world trading ideas and experiences in how to promote cycling and make cycling infrastructure work in urban and rural contexts.
From the call for entries:
Could you encapsulate everything the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain stands for in a single striking poster? We’re looking for great images and words that sum up everything we’re about. There will be a range of fine prizes (still to be confirmed) but more importantly you’ll be helping to spread the word about who we are and what we’re campaigning for.
The Alliance for Biking & Walking has brought back their popular People Powered Movement Photo Contest for 2011. The submission period officially opens today, so it’s time to dust off your archives and line up your best photos for this year’s contest. From the Alliance for Biking & Walking:
The People Powered Movement Photo Contest addresses a critical need for bicycle and pedestrian advocacy organizations: To make your efforts professional and appealing you need high-quality images of biking and walking. Our nationwide contest builds our online Photo Library, which provides hundreds of images for Alliance members to download and use at no cost.
For the 2011 contest, participants are invited to submit their photos in multiple categories and winners will be selected based on public voting and evaluation by a panel of expert judges.
This year the contest will open on August 1, public voting will begin in October and the winners will be announced in early 2012. We’re finalizing the categories and nailing down all the details, so check back soon for the official launch!
We have some great prizes lined up this year, including:
- An all-expense-paid trip to Tuscany from VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations
- A new bicycle from PUBLIC Bikes
- Bags from Ortlieb
- Helmets from Bern
- Great products from Planet Bike
- PLUS, winning photos will be published in Momentum magazine