== Bike-Walk Alliance of NH ==
April 2012: Distracted Driving Awareness is critical
you bike or walk in New Hampshire, there is something on this Bike-Walk Alliance
of NH web site that should be of interest to you! There is so much activity
here in the Granite State involving biking and walking it is difficult to
write about all of it. However, let's get started!
Highlights of April 2012 news follow:
Driving Awareness campaign shifts into high gear
April being National Distracted Driver Awareness month, BWA-NH is pleased
to be working with Miss Manchester Lissa Silk
and the office of Governor John Lynch
to help inform the public of this serious hazard affecting everyone on our
shared roadways. Please see the proclamation
from Governor Lynch. Bicyclists and pedestrians are the most vulnerable
but anyone even close to a distracted driver is in danger. Check
out Lissa's blog about the meeting she had with BWA-NH Executive Director
Linda Gould on March 3. Note the "DNT TXT N
DRV" thumbands they are wearing. We are very pleased to have
Miss Manchester as our 2012 Distracted Driving Spokesperson!
Manchester Lissa Silk and BWA-NH Exec. Dir. Linda Gould
displaying the "DNT TXT N DRV" thumbands, March 3, 2012.
Please vote in the Miss New Hampshire contest for Miss Manchester, Lissa Silk.
If she wins it will be a win for all bicyclists as her platform is Distracted
Driving Awareness. (Be sure to scroll down the list -- names are in town/city
has started demos and training sessions with their Virtual Driver Interactive
touch-screen Distracted Driver Simulator in our Concord office. Informational
brochures, flyers, and pledge cards are available in conjunction with our
demos. Samples may be downloaded from this web site. Please
see the Distracted Driving page for details.
A touch-screen Distracted Driving Simulator from Virtual Driver Interactive and owned by BWA-NH was demonstrated to NH-DMV driver testing and licensing personnel who thought it was great. Plans are underway to have BWA-NH showcase the system in the NH-DMV auditorium to driver training instructors as part of a conference. A second topic to be presented by BWA-NH will be the laws concerning interactions between motorists and bicyclists since we must share our roadways and responsibilities. BWA-NH is very pleased to have the support of NH-DMV as we continue to increase awareness of the true hazards associated with distracted driving. Cell calls, texting, setting up MP3 players, tuning the radio, and many other driving distractions often result in crashes which could be easily avoided by paying attention to the road, not gadgets.
Police Officer Russell Bailey and NH-DMV Supervisor of Driver Licensing
Jeffrey Oberdank checked out the BWA-NH distracted driving simulator
at the BWA-NH Concord office on March 27, 2012.
Federal funds for all bike-ped programs maintained for 90 days
On March 14, the US Senate passed MAP-21, its transportation bill. House and Senate Democrats pushed House Republicans to simply take up and pass MAP-21 to bring an end to the 2.5 years of delays in reauthorizing transportation law. House leadership resisted the pressure and instead passed a 90-day extension. Transportation spending (including Safe Routes to School) is extended until June 30, 2012. From now until then, bike-ped advocates from around the country are again asking our Representatives to vote to maintain dedicated funding for Safe Routes to School and Transportation Enhancements.
within NH, a new Federal requirement is being implemented by NH-DOT. Training
and certification of "Local Public Agency Project Sponsors" must
be completed by anyone working with TE, CMAQ, SRTS, Scenic Byways, and similar
Federal Aid programs. BWA-NH was included in the LPA certification requirement
because of our $42K "Train the Trainers" bike-ed SRTS grant awarded
in October 2010. Dave Topham completed the training on April 3 using the 494-page
LPA manual (a 12.8 MB PDF download) and received
certificate #1063 including wallet cards as on-site Federal compliance
audits can be conducted at any time. (However, an on-site compliance visit
during a bike-ed class is not considered very likely.)
Bike Summit in DC held March 20-22
Linda Gould (Executive Director of BWA-NH), Ken Colburn, Sally McMurdo, Brent Bell, and Chris Zigmont visited their NH Representatives and Senators while attending the 2012 National Bike Summit in Washington, DC. Following superb programs and events at the Summit itself, they were able to meet in person with Representatives Guinta and Bass, Senator Ayotte and each of their legislative assistants (LA) for transportation as well as Senator Shaheen's LA. The group presented information about bicycling and pedestrian issues and their specific concerns about the pending federal Transportation Bill. Ken Colburn and Charlie LaFlamme (Charley from the Bicycle Coalition of Maine) were also able to meet with officials from the office of US DOT Secretary Ray LaHood to discuss NH bike-ped economic issues and the Memorial Bridge/Sarah Long Bridge problems. All in all, it was a tiring but rewarding experience for all.
Photos from the Bike Summit trip include:
Bell, Sally McMurdo, Chris Zigmont, Ken Colburn, and
Linda Gould met with NH Representative Frank Guinta.
McMurdo, NH Senator Kelly Ayotte, Linda Gould,
and Brent Bell at the National Bike Summit, March 22, 2012.
McMurdo and Linda Gould get a free pedicab
ride between meetings, March 21, 2012.
Much work remains to ensure that Transportation Enhancements remain a part of the final legislation, but BWA-NH's team let our legislators know how important these programs are to enhancing quality of life for NH citizens. Following the Summit, the Transportation Bill was extended for 90 days with funding for Transportation Enhancements. Now we need to ensure that they are included in the "real" Transportation Bill, so please stand ready to call or email your Congressman or Senator when the word goes out from BWA-NH!
The Memorial Bridge Project
critical connection for bicyclists traveling between Portsmouth NH and Kittery
ME will be replaced by a new bridge targeted to be functional in July 2013.
With no bridge for at least 18 months, an hourly bus shuttle service running
from 5 am to 1 am, seven days a week was initiated on January 9. The 12 passenger
bus capable of carrying seven bikes is basically satisfactory for the winter
months but is expected to be inadequate for the peak cycling season of April
through October. Discussions via a dedicated bike-ped "Outreach Committee"
have been held on Feb. 16 and April 10 by NH-DOT and Maine DOT. BWA-NH and
Bicycling Coalition of Maine have representatives at the table to address
various concerns of the bicycling community. Because the Sarah Long Bridge
deck has been reduced in width from 30 to 25 feet due to new safety barriers
being installed, the idea of lifting the bike ban is off the table. The shuttle
service will be the only method for bicyclists and pedestrians to cross the
river between Portsmouth and Kittery. Additional shuttle stops at each end
of the Sarah Long Bridge have been suggested to accommodate cyclists who follow
the "bridge out" detour signs only to find they cannot cross the
Sarah Long Bridge when they reach the approach ramps.
For the latest update on this important topic, please see the Memorial Bridge page on this BWA-NH web site.
Skills 101 Classes in Portsmouth and Concord
Bike-Walk Alliance of New Hampshire will once again be helping to sponsor the popular Traffic Skills 101 classes. For 2012, two classes are planned to be offered in April and June. The first TS-101 class is scheduled for April 28th and 29th at the Trek shop in Portsmouth, NH (Trek Portsmouth, 775 Lafayette Road). The second class is offered June 23rd and 24th in Concord, NH (Safety & Health Council, 57 Regional Drive). A third class will likely be offered in August in Portsmouth sponsored by Bike Coalition of Maine (BCM) or jointly by BCM and BWA-NH. Please see the TS-101 page for details and to register.
Classroom and on-bike training for elementary schools
Most of the school-based training is conducted under local Safe Routes to School (SRTS) grant programs. In addition, an adult-level "Train the Trainers" program offered by BWA-NH to train and certify school phys-ed teachers, coaches, nurses, and other staff members to become LAB "Bicycling 1-2-3 Youth Instructors" so they can conduct LAB-designed bike-ed courses year after year in their schools for grades 4 and 5 continues. The most recent training session in Pittsfield NH was attended by teachers and staff from Concord and Exeter plus the expected local school personnel. This "TTT" program is funded by a SRTS grant to BWA-NH therefore it is free for the schools on a first-come, first served basis. Please contact the BWA-NH office for details: firstname.lastname@example.org, 603.898.9926.
A "Train the Trainers" seminar at the Warner NH Simonds School, October 5, 2011.
Another form of bicycling education is available in the form of videos and informational sources linked from the BWA-NH web site. New videos and links provided by other organizations from around the country appear routinely, so check them out. We emphasize bicyclist and motorist interactions, sharing the roads, on-road vehicular cycling techniques, handling a mountain bike in rugged terrain including how to fall, and multiple videos on bike maintenance -- all just a few clicks away at www.BWANH.org
Kids NH returns to NH Motor Speedway
On Wednesday, May 2, 5:00-7:30 PM, children and their parents are welcome to ride around the famous NH Motor Speedway on Route 106 in Loudon NH -- without competing with NASCAR drivers! Free bike and helmet safety checks, healthy snacks, and educational handouts from various organizations will be provided. Please see the event flyer for more info or call 877.783.0432, email email@example.com.
Once again this year, S&W Sports of Concord and BWA-NH will be on-site with equipment to check bikes, inflate tires, help with helmet fitting, and promote all aspects of safe cycling for everyone, not just the kids enjoying a ride on the one-mile oval race track.
Kids" fueled for the ride around the NH Motor Speedway
-- but not powered by Sunoco. (Photos from 2008 by DT.)
is National Bike Month
The League of American Bicyclists has been the national sponsor of Bike Month since 1956. This year Bike to Work Week is May 14-18 and Bike to Work Day is Friday, May 18. Here in New Hampshire, Bike to Work events are being promoted statewide by the Commute Green committee so as to incorporate other means to reduce travel by single-occupancy motor vehicles. Bus, train, carpool, tele-commuting, walking, skateboards - you name it - just "think green" and do it. For a complete listing of events and options, please visit the Commute Green NH website at http://www.commutegreennh.org/.
Work by the Iron Horse Preservation Society (IHPS) continues in Methuen along the M&L corridor from Lawrence to Salem with the rail trail expected to be complete in May. Paving is to start on April 9. A formal grand opening and ribbon cutting is scheduled for Saturday, June 2, to coincide with National Rail Trail Day.
Rail Trail looking south from the Salem border.
Old ties bundled for pick-up at the Pine Street access point, April 2, 2012.
Town of Salem has submitted paperwork to NH-DOT to allow IHPS to move north
along the M&L corridor to build sections of the bike-ped corridor where
practical in exchange for old rail and track components. Final approval is
needed from the Governor's Executive Council since the old rail still has
value to the state. For approximately 2.5 miles of track left on the five-mile
Salem corridor, we hope to have IHPS build a trail with a hardpack or "T-Base"
(recycled asphalt) surface. Some private funding via the Friends of the Salem
Bike-Ped Corridor (affiliated with BWA-NH) is expected to provide amenities.
Work along various sections is expected to start this summer. The goal is
to build the trail from the Methuen border to Cluff Crossing in Salem then
another section from Main Street at the Salem Depot Station to North Broadway
Crossing. From there to the Windham Rail Trail, an expensive section along
Route 28 is to be funded by a TE grant. Until that happens cyclists could
use Old Rockingham Road through a quiet residential area to bike all the way
from downtown Derry to downtown Salem.
The Hippo Press newspaper based in Manchester is to run a lengthy article on rail trails late this month. Members of the NH Rail Trail Coalition and BWA-NH are being interviewed for inputs. A link to the article will be provided once it is published. On April 6, Hippo Press reporter Kelly Sennott visited Methuen and Salem rail trail representatives for a review over breakfast then a tour of the M&L corridor from Methuen to the Salem Depot Station.
Sennott of the Hippo Press on the incomplete Methuen Rail Trail (Salem behind
and at the restored Salem Depot Station on Main Street, April 6, 2012.
on-line payment processing now available
BWA-NH is pleased to now offer (finally!) an on-line payment option for sponsorships and other offerings. Payments for the Traffic Skills classes and BWA-NH merchandise are possible via the same form on the "Join Now" page by using the "Other" option. For those wishing to "be green" and not have the printed bi-monthly newsletter "Pedal Talk" mailed to you, an on-line option tied to your membership is now available. Please contact the BWA-NH office at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
encourage all interested parties, cyclists or not, to speak up in favor of
improved bike-ped policies, education, and facilities. GSW members can renew
their membership for just $20.00 more than the basic GSW rate of $15.00 if
they wish to help financially with a tax deductible donation as our organization
is 501(c)(3) certified. To upgrade from GSW to BWA-NH status, please make
checks payable to "BWA-NH" as this automatically includes your full
GSW membership. Check out the membership
page on this web site.
Did you miss reading about what the BWA-NH has been doing in the past months and years? If so, check out our Archived News page.
BWA-NH On-Line Calendar
out our on-line calendar to see what
is planned around the state affecting the bike-ped community. We hope this will
enable more NH residents to learn what is planned for their communities and
be able to participate in the decision-making process.
Want to help the Alliance?
Join the Alliance as an individual or a sponsor, help with the bike-ed programs, and get involved with local planning issues affecting bicycling in your area. Learning what is planned for your community is critical to ensure roadways are designed or rebuilt to properly accommodate bicyclists. Get involved and help spread the word! The Alliance can help via use of our email list-serve system. You do not need to be an Alliance member to use this free service. The more people who know what is going on in our NH bicycling community, the sooner the better, then everyone can have their say in a timely manner to help make a positive difference for all bicyclists.
Did you know that by joining the Alliance your payment includes a fully-funded GSW membership with all the benefits? Present GSW members are encouraged to join the Alliance when your current membership is due for renewal. For more details please check out the membership page on this web site.
we can make a positive difference!