Thursday, August 16, 2012

Greenway groans

After a long, long hiatus, I'm back, riding again through the urban wilds of Medford; braving the concrete jungle that is our town.

Over the last week, I've been riding the Bear Creek Greenway. For those visitors from outside our little valley, the BCG is a great multi-use path that runs from Central Point near the fairgrounds, to Ashland, ending at the dog park. It travels alongside Bear Creek, hence the name, and is mostly a very pleasant place to ride in an uninterrupted path.

This week, I've done the ride to Ashland twice, and today my riding partner and I decided that we'd take it easy and just go from the Rogue Valley Mall to Blue Heron Park in Phoenix. We've done this ride many, many times, and for the most part, the people on the trail are either very friendly or at the worst, lost in their own thoughts.

I've been a bike commuter for years now, and I know the rules of the road as well as the rules of the greenway. We ride politely and safely, and we try to be really friendly with the people we pass on the path.

But today, apparently, we managed to find the one pedestrian out of many who just had to make an issue out of everything. As we approached her and her friend, we called out "two bikes, passing on your left" with a lot of time for someone to turn, look, see us, and ensure they stayed to the right so we could pass. Instead of the normal reaction, this lady turns, sees us, then steps into our line of travel, looking us in the eyes as she demands we slow down.

At this point, according to the GPS on my bicycle, we were traveling 10.3 mph, 8-10 mph slower than we usually bike, solely for the purpose of passing this walker and her friend.

What can we do? We start edging further to the left, whereupon she takes another step into our line of travel. Again and again this happens until we're forced to leave the path to go around her.

We ended up riding on, but we should have stopped and confronted this lady about what she was doing. I understand a lot of walkers' frustration with bicyclists buzzing them on the trail, I do. We take great pains to ensure we don't do that. In fact, had we done that, she wouldn't have been able to pull this stunt. By giving her time to react, by being polite trail users, we ensure she had enough time to attempt to cause a crash.

The rules of etiquette for the greenway are:

Pedestrian always have the right of way.

For your safety, note all marked hazards and travel at a safe speed.

Walk pets on the right-hand shoulder if possible. Use a 5-foot or shorter leash, and clean/carry out your pet’s waste.

Think of the trail as a roadway. Always allow other users room to pass you on the left.

Always allow other trail users room to pass on the left.

Example, “Passing on your left!”

Report any suspicious behavior to 911.

Handicap scooters are the exception to this rule.

While I agree that the first rule is "Yield to Pedestrians," this doesn't mean slow to walking pace and follow them for however long they choose to walk, hence the "Keep right and pass on the left" rule and the "Announce yourself before passing" rule.

So walkers, please know that there are a lot of bikers who really want to be good, polite, friendly trail users, but when stuff like this happens, it makes us want to just get past you as quickly as possible with as little warning as possible to keep from having to deal with this crap.

I'll still be just as polite as I've always been, but this had to be said.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Hiatus due to injury

Hello, everyone!

I managed to injure my knee back in April, and I'm just now starting to get back on the bike. I also managed to pick up a video camera back around Christmastime, so I'll be taking that with me when I start getting back to commuting, so everyone can see exactly what commuting here in Medford is like.

Hope to be back soon!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Americans using rapid transit

Sorry to everyone about my long absence. Life caught up with me for a bit.


Americans drove less in July, used mass transit more, feds say

I love the idea of taking transit and going multi-modal. Here in the Rogue Valley, it would make it much easier to get from Medford to Ashland and parts in between. I actually feel so strongly about it that I started a discount RVTD bus pass program at work. Instead of $70 a month for a full-fare bus pass, it's $12.50 if you purchase it from HR.

There is a simple problem with the program. There is a distinct lack of service for the hours our company needs. Most nurses at the hospital work 7a-7:30p. I work 6a-6:30p. For me, the first bus gets me to work 5 minutes late, but at least I have a ride home. For the nurses, they can get to work on time, but there is no bus home. All the bus routes stop by 6:30p. My route is the latest, and the last bus leaves at 6:30p. That's the bus I can use to get home.

To top it off, most of the buses only have 2 slots on the bike racks on the front of the bus. When you get a large route like the one from the transit center to the VA, or the one to Ashland, those spots are like gold.

In short, I purchased a bus pass back in August and the first time I tried to use it, I couldn't because of lack of bike space, and I couldn't use it to commute to work, because that particular bus always runs at least 5-10 minutes late and wouldn't get me there in time.

RVTD, unfortunately, is stuck in a sort of catch-22. They can't increase times and routes without an increase in ridership, but an increase in ridership won't happen until they increast times and routes.

I'm planning on heading to a few RVTD board meetings to have my say about it, and hopefully RVTD will listen. If you've wanted better bus service for the Rogue Valley, take the initiative and get to a couple of their board meetings. Let your voice be heard, and if enough of us really want it, we can get better bus service.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Gas hits $4 a gallon in Medford / Ashland

The time has finally come, according to a news story by the Medford Mail Tribune.

How high does gas have to go before people start doing the responsible thing and start to bike? I hope gas climbs to $10 a gallon by next year. I'd love to see just as many bikes on the road as cars!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

New record for gasoline

Gas hit another record high today. It looks like this is going to continue along until it no longer makes headlines.

Still not up to where it should be, though. Still, I'm seeing a lot of SUV's, RV's, and other gasoline-dependent toys up for sale around here, and they've been that way for weeks. I don't think the folks who are selling them are going to get what they hoped for...

Portland man arrested for causing rollover

Everyone is so fond of pointing out every single mistake made by bicyclists when we ride on the roads. I just ran across this article over at, and it sort of stuck out at me, so I figured, I'd point out a few motor vehicle mistakes.

At about 11:19 a.m., a 1997 Toyota 4Runner driven by a Salem woman was struck from behind by Standley's 1994 Acura Integra, which went off the freeway's right shoulder, crashed through hedges and stopped near Boones Ferry Road.

The Toyota 4Runner rolled over several times before coming to rest on its side near the cable barrier.


Witnesses, according to police, reported seeing the Integra driving south at a high rate of speed and following other vehicles too closely. Standley reportedly lost control of the vehicle just before colliding with the rear end of the 4Runner.

The driver was 23 years old, and he was charged with a number of things, including assault, which I think was the frustrated police officer trying to find things to charge him on. I say throw the book at him, followed by that little metal clipboard all the officers keep their ticket books in.

I always find it funny when drivers all comment on bicycling stories telling us to "police our own." Let me just put this out here: When I see drivers starting to pull each other over and "police their own," I'll start doing it with bicycles.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

BPAC Monthly Update, May 2008

This month was pretty much dominated by two topics: Bicycle and pedestrian enforcement, and the Oregon BPAC grant.

First up this month was a discussion with the Medford Police Department about enforcement of the laws pertaining to bicycles and pedestrians. The most notable discussions were about parking in the bike lanes.

The day of the meeting, I went out to Hedrick middle school and took some pictures of the problem. I spoke to the principal and many different staff members, all of whom are very concerned about the lack of safety on Jackson Street as it passes the school. The bike lanes out in front of the school were choked with oversize vehicles - minivans and SUV's - bumper to bumper, blocking not only the bike lane, but also half the car lane. Some were even there so long that there was no one in the car.

MPD told us that they were aware the situation was bad, but they were unaware that it was that bad, and that someone in traffic enforcement would take a look at the problem and see if there is anything that can be done. The officer also said that there is a problem in Bear Creek Park, as well, with cars parking in the bike lanes on Siskiyou.

The other item up for discussion this month was the state of Oregon's BPAC grant. This is $5 million that's up for grabs for projects involving bicycles and pedestrians. That grant has to be divided up among many different cities and counties, so the actual grant money we'd get for a project is probably in the neighborhood of $250,000. We're all thinking of projects that the money could be used for, and will bring our ideas to the table in June. If anyone in Medford has any ideas on how this money could be used to benefit our bicycle culture, please let me know.

Between those two issues, we ran very short on time, so we adjourned. Upcoming next month will be some discussion with RVTD about bicycle safety PSA's. We're going to be doing at least one focused on drivers. I'm not sure if we're going to do one focused on cyclists or not. I'd definitely like to see one, but we'll see what happens.

That's it from this month's BPAC. Remember - ride safe, ride sane, and share the road.