Helmet Rewards

Saturday, June 25 by silvia

Here’s a case of when it pays off to be stopped by the police:

Police departments in several Middlesex County municipalities, including Plainsboro and Cranbury, are giving a “summons” to any kid spotted wearing a helmet while biking (or doing another wheeled activity) between June 21 and Sept. 30. Each summons can be redeemed for free items, such as a scoop of ice cream or slice of pizza, and enters the child in a raffle drawing for a new helmet and bicycle at the end of the campaign.

Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital’s Safe Kids Middlesex County is once again partnering with county and local governments to make this program happen. You can read more about it here.

Wearing a helmet isn’t just the law for kids under 17; it makes sense for cyclists of all ages. You only have one brain, and even an seemingly innocent fall the wrong way can do serious damage.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, approximately 190,000 children sustain head injuries each year while participating in wheeled activities. Brain injuries often have lifelong effects, such as problems with thought processes, mobility and emotions. There is no cure for brain injury so prevention is extremely important.

Talk to the WWBPA about how to fit your helmet properly so it doesn’t slide around. There’s a science to it!

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Teach Kids to Lose the Training Wheels

Wednesday, March 30 by sandy

No Training WheelsJoin us April 9 ?from 10 a.m. to noon, when Bike New York comes to Train the Trainers for our West Windsor Bikes: “Lose the Training Wheels” session?at the Farmers’ Market on May 21,?when we’ll teach children to ride bikes without training wheels.

We’ll start our training session at the West Windsor Library and then head outside. Please email us at [email protected] so we can know to expect you and contact you if plans change because of bad weather.

Click here to read about the Balancing First Method.

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New Bike Ped Curricula Guide

Monday, March 14 by sandy

Bike Ped Curricula GuideThe Safe Routes to School National Partnership announced the release a new publication, Bicycle and Pedestrian Curricula Guide: Making the Case for Bicycle and Pedestrian Youth Education.

The guide, created through a contract from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is intended to give Safe Routes to School practitioners, teachers, school administrators and others the necessary background information to fully understand the positive benefits of teaching bicycle and pedestrian education in the classroom, and to provide these audiences with easy access to currently available curricula. The guide and its accompanying inventory are organized into descriptive categories that will help in choosing the right curriculum for specific classroom needs.

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A View From the Cycle Path

Saturday, February 26 by silvia

What happens when a motorist hits cyclists? This video looks back at the impressive media and public response to a road incident in the Netherlands between a reckless driver and the three cyclists he struck while they were stopped waiting for a traffic light. The motorist was arrested and temporarily lost his driving license. He would have lost it permanently had he not passed an expensive exam to retain it. It was in the news for months. Even though no one died. It’s certainly not the sort of public (or media) response we see here.

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Summer Camp Bike Programs

Thursday, February 24 by sandy

We’ve spotted a couple of Mercer County Community College?summer programs with biking and hiking themes:

Among the 2011 Summer Sports Camps is
Mountain Biking Camp (co-ed, ages 8-16)
July 25-29 / August 8-12
Mercer County Mountain BikingThis camp focuses on some of the fundamental skills required in cross country mountain bike racing as well as the mechanics and general maintenance of bicycles. Campers will learn skills associated with mountain bike racing such as proper body position for maximum balance and control while navigating through narrow trails and terrain. How to properly go over obstacles such as small log climbs. Along with these skills campers will also learn proper racing etiquette as well as how to take care of their bike with some basic maintenance.
For more information, go to Mercer County Community College Youth Summer Sports Camps or call 609-570-3779.

For those interested in more traditional bicycling and in hiking, there’s?Camp College, which offers Friday Fun Days,?with this one:
Bike & Hike (AGES 9-13)
July 29,?8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Enjoy a day trip to Mercer County Park where we will ride the trails and experience the beauty of the area on two wheels. We?ll explore the red, blue, and yellow trails then find a shady spot for our picnic lunch. Before we hit the dirt we will have a brief overview of bicycle safety, trail riding, and bike maintenance. You must provide your own bike, lock and helmet (No open toe shoes).?Tuition and fees: $60
For more information and registration, go to?Camp College or?call 609-570-3311.

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Buffered Bike Lanes Bring Out the Bicyclists

Thursday, January 27 by JerryFoster

Buffered Bike Lanes Work for Kids

The data is in! Implementing buffered bike lanes in New York City resulted in a 190% increase (nearly tripled!) in bicycling based on before and after counts. More significantly for pedestrians, the percentage of bicyclists on the sidewalk fell from 46% to 4%, and 32% of these cyclists riding in the bike lanes were children legally allowed to ride on the sidewalk!

Buffered bike lanes, which are placed between the sidewalk and the on-street parked cars, are a key feature of the Princeton Junction Redeveloment Plan, although they are replaced in the Transit Village area by the Shared Space concept, which mix bicycle and motor vehicle travel lanes.

According to a recent report, these dramatic results were for weekday counts between 7am-7pm. Weekend counts more than doubled (125% increase), and cyclists riding on the sidewalk fell from 20% to 4%, 43% of whom were children legally allowed to ride on the sidewalk.

Want to have fewer people biking on the sidewalk? Implement buffered bike lanes – they work for bicyclists of all ages and abilities.

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NJDOT New Bicycling Manual

Sunday, January 16 by sandy

NJ Bicycle Manual CoverThe NJDOT just published (only online) the New Jersey Bicycle Manual. It’s not just for kids, either. Here’s a list of the covered topics, from the table of contents:

  • Selecting, Fitting & Equipping Your Bike
  • Quick Maintenance Checks
  • Off to a Good Start
  • Traffic Basics
  • Sharing the Road
  • Parking Your Bike
  • Difficult Situations
  • Riding at Night & in Rain and Snow
  • Riding with Others
  • Riding on Shared-Use Paths
  • NJ Bicycling Law & Roadway Restrictions
  • Traffic Signals, Signs and Road Markings

The manual includes lots of clear diagrams and photos to help cyclists navigate in a variety of situations (even how to share the road with pedestrians and horseback riders).

This is an excellent resource for both novice and experienced cyclists.

Read the WalkBikeJersey Blog review, but be sure to read the whole manual, too.

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Sharrows for Princeton?

Thursday, December 16 by silvia

The Princeton Joint Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee is asking Princeton Borough and Princeton Township to install “sharrows” along four streets:

  • Harrison Street from Faculty Road to Mt. Lucas Road;
  • Witherspoon Street from Nassau Street to Valley Road;
  • Nassau Street from Harrison to Bayard Lane; and
  • Paul Robeson Place/Wiggins Street/Hamilton Avenue from Bayard Lane to Snowden Lane.

Sharrows are shared lane markings that are being used in New York City, among other places, and were included for the first time this year in the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices, a bible for transportation engineers. The markings depict a bicycle with directional arrows and are highly visible to motorists and help guide bicyclists to an appropriate place in traffic (and far enough from the risk of hitting an opening car door).

The advisory committee says sharrows are needed to fill the gap between sidewalks for novice cyclists and off-road trails for recreational cyclists. Those using their bikes for transportation (to Princeton University, the Dinky, downtown, and shopping centers, for example) and seeking direct routes currently are left out. Sharrows would work on Princeton’s narrow streets, where parking is a priority and there is no room left for bike lanes.

In its report, the committee wrote that “shared lane markings may be the only feasible and affordable intervention to improve the safety and comfort of cyclists on Princeton streets.” It noted that the four roadways it recommended for sharrows are where 60% of the bicycle accidents from 2008 through May 25, 2010 occurred and estimates that adding these markings to the road will cost $13,000 for every two miles of roadway.

The Princeton Joint Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee Sharrows Policy Paper was presented to the Princeton Borough Council last week, and it isn’t clear when the borough and township will decide whether to follow the recommendations. The West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance hopes that both will evaluate these recommendations seriously.

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Shared Space: Safe or Dangerous?

Wednesday, December 15 by JerryFoster

from Shared Space: Safe or Dangerous?Township Council recently adopted the shared space concept as fundamental to the lawsuit settlement with InterCap over the new Princeton Junction Transit Village. Under this concept, motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians share the roadway as peers. But is it safe?

Four European experts reported results of their studies of the shared space experience in the Netherlands in 2007 at the Walk21 Conference held in Toronto. Shared space was implemented several locations between 1998 and 2001, with studies published between 2003 and 2007.

Overall, “reported accidents have decreased substantially.” In one location, however, minor injury collisions persisted, and “bicyclists were overrepresented”.? Significantly, “police report only a (minor) part of the accidents. Particularly bicycle and pedestrian accidents are often not reported to the police. This means that reliable and valid conclusions regarding the safety of cyclists and pedestrians cannot be made.”

What makes shared space work? “At low speeds people have more time for communication and the interpretation of verbal and non-verbal utterances.”

What keeps it from working? “Children and people with a visual or mental handicap cannot be expected to comply. Also, the elderly are not always able to anticipate and react in time, especially not when it is crowded and many things happen in a short period. This group (in total 25% percent of the population!) runs a substantially raised risk.”

How do people feel about shared space? “Most respondents do not think the situations are safe. Both car drivers and bicyclists and pedestrians are critical about it. In Haren remarkably many people (90%) demand a clear choice regarding the position of the bicycle: either on a bicycle lane or on the carriageway. The experts prefer the bicyclist on the carriageway; the public prefers a separate recognizable lane.”

The WWBPA supports the shared space concept, but recognizes that to work, all roadway users must be provided with subtle guidance as to the preferred positioning within the space. Bicyclists must be encouraged to stay out of the way of opening car doors (the “door zone”), such as through the use of a special color or pattern of pavement to guide where they ride.

The current (pre-settlement) language in the redevelopment ordinance calls for buffered bike lanes to achieve this goal. This goal can be achieved in the shared space concept, but the language regarding bike lanes is proposed to be removed. Please contact our public officials with your questions or concerns regarding the safety of our proposed new shared space.

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Bike Lanes, Paths or Highways?

Friday, November 26 by sandy

Separate bike lanes and paths, or share the road? This is a lively debate in the bicycle advocacy community,? almost as controversial as whether bike helmets are good for cycling because they save lives or bad because they discourage too many potential cyclists (also known as the “dork factor”).

Some say paths separated from the roadway are safer and encourage more cyclists. But such paths are costly, have their own conflicts (different speeds among cyclists and between cyclists and pedestrians). Plus, the law says bicyclists have a right to the road (and must follow all the rules of the road). By taking their place in the road, share-the-road proponents say, drivers must acknowledge the presence of cyclists and either pass them safely or go at a slower speed. Poorly designed bike lanes, such as those too close to parked cars and/or traffic, might mean less safety, as one study found. The WWBPA has recommended a two-foot buffer between a lane of parked cars and a bike lane to prevent cyclists riding into a door that is being opened (“dooring”).

One idea in between is “bicycle boulevards,” which optimize low-volume and low-speed streets for bicycle travel and discourage cut-through vehicle traffic (a plus for residents!). In Denmark, Copenhagen is extending its bicycling network outward into the suburbs, creating what the blog Copenhagenize calls “bicycle superhighways,” for commutes of six miles or more. Other interesting ideas are “green wave” traffic lights, which coordinate the signal timing to hit green lights along your route, “branded” signage for specific routes, even bicycle service stations along the way.

What’s your take?

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Biking to Quaker Bridge Mall

Friday, November 19 by silvia

Quakerbridge Mall mapCycling shoppers can look forward to Quaker Bridge Mall?s expansion and renovation, which will include improved bicycle and pedestrian access to the mall. The plan is to provide trail links to both the Avalon Run community southeast of the mall and to Yorkshire Village on the other side of Route 1, behind Mercer Mall, as well as a path along the southern portion of the mall?s loop road.

A macadam path is to be added from Grover?s Mill Rd on the southeast side of the property to the Route 1 access bridge on the southwest corner of the parcel. The path will continue over Route 1 via a new bike/pedestrian lane to be added to the bridge that now connects the mall to Route 1 near Patio World Fireplace & Hearth and Toys R Us. Lawrence Township is working with the Yorkshire Village homeowner?s association to extend that path to Canal View Drive. From that point it is relatively easy to access the D&R Canal towpath (and then the Lawrence-Hopewell Trail and the East Coast Greenway) via the existing residential street and path leading to the neighborhood?s community center.

The size and shape of the new path over Route 1 is still to be determined, as is the timeline for the whole project. The?mall’s expansion, which was originally expected to be completed by now, has been delayed by the recession. The mall?s legal counsel was recently before the Lawrence Township planning board seeking a 20-year extension in their overall plan. The township granted an eight-year extension and underscored the importance of?bike/pedestrian access over Route 1.

The West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance supports Lawrence’s efforts to improve bicycle and pedestrian access over Route 1, which will improve connections for West Windsor residents as well. The current bridge over Route 1 on Quaker Bridge Road isn’t suitable for bicyclists and pedestrians. The WWBPA also wants to see the off-road path along Clarksville Road that is in West Windsor’s master plan become reality at some point and is pleased to see that a multi-use trail along Clarksville is part of the new apartment complex now under construction near the railroad bridge.

Our thanks to Lawrence Township’s bicycle and pedestrian advocacy group, the Sustainable Transportation Committee, for this report.

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Upcoming Events

Monthly meetings are held on the second Thursday of the month, either at 6:45 pm at the WW library or at 7 pm via Zoom. Email us at [email protected] for details, including the Zoom code.

Find us at the West Windsor Farmers Market (Vaughn Drive parking lot) from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every other Saturday from May through Halloween.

May 21 — Weekly walking group at Community Park

May 22 — Ride of Silence (postponed from May 15)

May 28 — Weekly walking group at Community Park

June 1 — Learn to bike class at WW farmers market

June 4 — Weekly walking group at Community Park

June 11 — Weekly walking group at Community Park

June 13 — monthly meeting

June 15 — find us at the farmers market

June 18 — Weekly walking group at Community Park

June 25 — Weekly walking group at Community Park

June 29 — find us at the farmers market

July 11 — monthly meeting

Aug. 8 — monthly meeting

Sept. 12 — monthly meeting

Oct. 10 — monthly meeting

Nov. 14 — monthly meeting

Dec. 12 — monthly meeting

Become a Member/Donate

Pace Car Program

Ongoing – Register your bike with the WW Police Department for free

Volunteer Opportunities – Sign up to give back to the community

Now Accepting Applications for WWBPA Student Advisory Board

March 14 — annual meeting; guest speaker is Charles Tennyson, head of transporation for Princeton University

April 11 — monthly meeting

May 9 — monthly meeting

June 13 — monthly meeting

July 11 — monthly meeting

Aug. 8 — monthly meeting

Sept. 12 — monthly meeting

Oct. 10 — monthly meeting

Nov. 14 — monthly meeting

Dec. 12 — monthly meeting

Become a Member/Donate

Pace Car Program

Ongoing – Register your bike with the WW Police Department for free

Volunteer Opportunities – Sign up to give back to the community

Now Accepting Applications for WWBPA Student Advisory Board

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