Entries tagged: Adventure Cycling

Marketing the Economic Benefits of Bike Tourism

Bicycle tourism has significant impacts on economies of all scales. According to a recent Advocacy Advance report, the state of Maine generates an estimated $66 million per year in bicycle tourism; North Carolina’s Outer Banks alone generates $60 million annually in economic activity from bicycle tourism.

These visitors in San Jose are doing great things for the local economy. Photo by Sergio Ruiz/Flickr

Last week, the Alliance convened four experts on bike tourism and advocacy to discuss how advocates can use tap into the economic benefits of bike tourism to advance bicycle advocacy. Even if you missed the call, check out the tip sheet below for the major takeaway points. You can also listen to a recording of the call here.

Update 5/1/13: Ginny also assembled this collection of bicycle tourism economic impact studies.

National Cycling Groups Commend Improved Rumble Strip Advisory

imageThree of America’s largest cycling organizations — Adventure Cycling Association, Alliance for Biking & Walking, and the League of American Bicyclists — wish to thank the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) for the significant improvements the agency made last week in an important technical advisory (TA) regarding the application of rumble strips on U.S. roadways.

Rumble strips are raised or grooved patterns in a road’s shoulder designed to alert drivers with noise and vibrations that they are drifting off the roadway. Properly applied, rumbles can serve as a safety device for motorists. However, if applied on narrow, shoulder-less roadways or in a way that covers a paved shoulder, rumble strips can make it difficult or impossible for cyclists to use a roadway.

The FHWA issued a revised TA on rumble strips in May 2011, the first such revision in 10 years. The TA is important because it provides official national guidance on the use of rumbles and influences state and local agency action in their use of rumbles on roadways of all types. FHWA had indicated that this new advisory would substantially improve the TA’s guidance on the application of rumble strips and how they affected bicyclists.

Unfortunately, the May 2011 TA went backwards from the 2001 TA in its lack of inclusion of cyclists’ safety issues. There was little mention of the needs of cyclists or the need for a public process regarding the application of rumble strips during road reconstruction or paving. These three national cycling groups contacted FHWA and the US Department of Transportation with many specific concerns and technical advice about revising the TA, and agency leaders indicated they would revisit the document.

The newly revised TA (Shoulder and Edge Line Rumble Strips, Technical Advisory T 5040.39, Revised 1), released on November 16 is a substantial improvement. It includes a new section about the accommodation of all roadway users (Section 9), with a special emphasis on the needs of cyclists, and lays out “a number of measures that should be considered to accommodate bicyclists,” including wide shoulders, bicycle gaps (intervals without rumble strips that allow cyclists to safety cross back or forth), and customized rumble treatments to allow more space for cyclists. The new TA also includes a significantly improved section on public outreach and involvement.

There are still sections of the new TA that raise concerns for cyclists, including Section 7b, which identifies the optimal “length” (or width) of rumble strips as 16 inches, a dimension which can make it more likely that these strips will cut into useable road shoulder space for cyclists.

The three national organizations reiterate the importance of local citizens and organizations in paying close attention to the proposed addition of rumble strips on existing roadways or added when roads are being built, reconstructed or repaved. In addition to FHWA’s new advisory, further background and guidance can be found in a report by the League of American Bicyclists (Bicycling and Rumble Strips) and a report on state-by-state use of rumbles prepared by Adventure Cycling Association (State Rumble Strip Policies). Adventure Cycling has also developed a Flickr page where people can share photos of well-designed and poorly-designed rumble strips.

For more information, contact:

Alliance Members Rally for the U.S. Bicycle Route System

imageOn May 2nd, advocates at the Adventure Cycling Association (ACA) launched the second annual fundraising campaign for the U. S. Bicycle Route System (USBRS), a proposed national network of bicycle routes, spanning multiple states.

Routes will connect U.S. cities, transportation hubs, scenic and historic destinations. Thirty states are currently working on the USBRS, and on May 11th, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) approved six new USBRS bicycle routes, the first to be established since 1982.

Driven by the success of the 2010 campaign, which raised more than $27,000 for the effort, ACA aims to raise $30,000 with the 2011 Build It. Bike It. Be a Part of It. campaign. ACA is not alone in its efforts: This year, several Alliance member organizations are teaming with the campaign as state partners. Participating groups include Bike Walk Tennessee, the Bicycle Alliance of Washington, Bike Utah, the South Dakota Bicycle Coalition, and the Bicycle Advocacy of Central Arkansas. The advocacy organizations act as allies to ACA’s fundraising efforts by promoting and raising money for the campaign. In return, each group will use a portion of the proceeds to support the creation of bicycle routes in their home states.

To gain some insight on our members’ involvement with the campaign, we spoke with the San Dakota Bicycle Coalition (SDBC). SDBC got involved with the ACA and the USBRS when Ginny Sullivan, Special Projects Director at the ACA, reached out to them via Facebook in the fall of 2009. “I’m an ACA member, so I was excited to connect with [Ginny] on the USBRS,” Jessica Giard, Board Vice President of SDBC, says. “We know SDBC members want cross-state routes, so this seems a good start in that direction.”

USBRS has already proven to be an asset to these advocates, and groups hope that it will continue to boost bicycle tourism within their respective states. “Tourism is a top industry in South Dakota, and we see more possibility for bicycle travel in the industry,” Giard says. “Bicycle travel is one of the coalition’s initiatives. Developing the USBRS in South Dakota plays hugely in validating bicycle tourism.”

While USBRS is still in its infancy in several states, advocates believe that it will continue to be a powerful tool for the bicycling movement. “It’s early yet in the South Dakota route development, but, thankfully, the coalition has a good connections within our state DOT,” Giard says. “I see this effort as nothing but positive for bicycling in our state.”

The campaign runs through May 31st and has raised more than $14,000 as of May 24th. Looking to help the campaign reach its $30,000 goal? Donate to the campaign here. Click here to help spread the word and be sure to follow the efforts for the USBRS campaign on its Facebook page.

Bicycle Colorado Takes Aim at Absurd Bike Ban

Since the start of June, the city of Black Hawk has issued at least eight traffic citations to cyclists passing through the Colorado town. Their crime: simply pedaling down the street.

In January, the tiny city that banks most of its economic development from area casinos, passed an ordinance banning bicycles from virtually every street. That includes Black Hawk’s main thoroughfare, which also happens to be a road used by travelers following Adventure Cycling’s popular Great Parks South route.

Officials argue that it’s too dangerous for cyclists to share the narrow roads that carry a heavy flow of tour buses bound for the slot machines. Bicycle Colorado, an Alliance member organization, says the real danger is that this absurd measure could spread across the Centennial State — and beyond. “Bicycle Colorado is very concerned about it, because we don’t want it to set a precedent that other cities would follow,” Dan Grunig, the group’s executive director, told a local news reporter.

Grunig made a formal case for lifting the ban at the June 9th city council meeting, but Black Hawk officials remained determined to keep bikes off their streets. But their logic doesn’t add up. While the council insists the ordinance promotes safety, city staff hasn’t cited even one example of a car-bike collision. When Bicycle Colorado offered to work with the town to come up with road safety alternatives to the outright ban, city officials shot that down, too.

So, until the measure is overturned, anyone “caught riding” is subject to a $68 fine.

But the frustration of many American cyclists is starting to bear down on the tiny mountain town. Last week, a new website promoting a Black Hawk boycott went live. The Facebook page “Bicyclists and Tourists Boycott Black Hawk Colorado” has racked up nearly 1,300 supporters. Bicycle Colorado is hoping to capitalize on that momentum next week, when they rally in front of the state capitol on June 29.

You can help. Send your thoughts to the city council at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or (303) 582-2212. Or donate a few dollars to the cause by contributing to Bicycle Colorado.

Posted by Carolyn S on June 22, 2010
Tags: colorado, black hawk, bike ban, bicycle colorado, adventure cycling
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