Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Christian Thing To Do

I usually close out my Saturday night by enjoying one of my favorite guilty pleasures. Each Saturday night or I should say Sunday morning at the stoke of midnight a new batch of peoples deepest and sometimes darkest secrets are placed online at Post Secret.

Tonight was no different. As I read through each postcard I am sometimes amused, sometimes saddened. But what I rarely am is shocked. Tonight was one of those rare occasions.

I don't find it to shocking that a driver speaks or writes about their desire to run over a cyclist. All of us cyclist have felt, seen or heard the wrath of a put-upon driver. But I do find it more than a little shocking that someone would profess to these thoughts on their way church. But I guess that's just gods will.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Stuff I've Been Meaning to Post

  • The LightLane

I have literally received a half-a-dozen emails and a couple tweets from Bike Jax readers about the LightLane personal bike path. When it was announced back in January it became an instant darling of the bike blogging community. I chose not to jump on the bandwagon based the original design and information provided at the time. Jack over at Bike Commuters held out posting until he had a chance to talk with the developers at Altitude, Inc. and got all the details.

The original design photo above showed a very bike lane like image displayed on the ground. I was concerned that the design shown above would possibly put a cyclist at greater risk.

My first concern was what is know as, the moth effect. Simply put, I was concerned that a driver may be so mesmerized by the shiny little bike lane that they may inadvertently steer into the cyclist.

My second and biggest problem with the product as originally presented was how a driver would react when a bike lane which is normally to the right of the roadway suddenly started to move left as a cyclist prepared for left turn.

Well it seems that what was just an idea back in January is becoming a reality. The LightLane is currently in the production engineering phase and has released a video of the beta prototype in action. I'll let you guys/gals form your own opinions.

  • The Lure of the Open Road.

It was July of 1944 when Doris Roy and Thelma Popp fresh out of college strapped everything they needed to their single speed and two speed bikes. They were setting out to spend the summer touring the eastern United States. No lycra, no helmets, just styling around on the most basic of bikes. Read about their adventure as they enjoyed The Lure of the Open Road.

  • More Fear & Loathing in Bike Safety

Here are couple of Videos that have been making the bike blog rounds.

The first is from the Los Angeles Department of Transportation. It points out the danger that occurs from bike salmons. (Bike Salmon = One who Rides a bike against the flow of traffic)

This next one is from the New York Bike Safety Coalition and is illustrating the importance of paying attention while cycling.

Do these videos make you want get on bike and ride? Do you think they promote cycling as a safe alternative mode of transportation? Or do you think they will scare the bee-jeebus out of anyone just starting out or thinking getting on a bike for the first time?

  • Bike Jax In The News

And finally, here is a very nice video about Bike Jax by Julie Watkins at Action News (Ch. 30 &47)

Quad-Vertising - Pedel Powered Ads

Last Friday the above picture was posted on the The Urban Core National Gallery of Tumblr Museum.

Of course I had to call the number and see what this four-wheeled pedal powered billboard was about.

At the other end of the phone was Milton. After crushing my very fragile ego by not knowing about Bike Jax and having me explain who I was and what Bike Jax is. Not once, but twice. Milton seemed very happy to talk to me about his new pedal powered venture, Quad-Vertise.

What is and how does Quad-vertising work exactly?

Customers hire us to fly their banners in heavy pedestrian areas while we meet and greet potential customers and pass out flyers creating brand exposure. The idea is special in that we go where no sign has gone before.

What prompted you to start Quad-vertising?

The desire to produce an innovative outside the box method of advertising that was eco-friendly is what "prompted me to start Quad-vertise". I wanted to do something unique and affordable that could serve business owners an outdoor market media.

How long has the been company active and how is it being received?

We have officially become active this year and are currently breaking through a period of "market acceptance" but everyone is amazed when they see us coming down the road. We hope that this method of advertising will become more popular as time goes by.

What areas of town can someone expect see Quad-vertising?

Considering that our ad-bike can go where motor vehicles are not welcome, you will pretty much see us everywhere. For example, the Stadium, concerts, plays, etc. But, mainly the downtown area is where you can expect to see us.

How many bikes do you currently have and are they all quads?

1 on the road and looking to employ 6 more.

Are you now or will you be looking to hire additional riders?

Right now we are a small home-based business that is trying to expand as we receive market acceptance. We would love to hire people in the near future as we get busier. This would definitely be one of the healthier jobs a person could have as it has always been healthy for people to work with bicycles even dating back to the 1800's when rickshaws and trishaws were very popular among people who used these type of vehicles to produce an income.

If you have a product or brand and are looking for a unique new way to promote it. Give Quad-Vertise a call and let them pedal your product to the masses.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Florida 43rd in Drivers Test State Rankings

I know that this is not news for anyone that has been on a bike in Florida. But it appears that Florida is once again bringing up the rear on a national listing. This time it's for knowledge of driving laws. GMAC Insurance has on it's site a 2009 National Drivers Test State Rankings Overview which lists Florida drivers near the bottom (43rd out of 51) for a basic understanding of the rules of the road.

I took the test and got a 100 percent and I'm not that bright. The questions are very remedial and common sense oriented.

Take The Test and see how well you do.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Home - The Movie

This isn't a bike related post. But it's Friday and most of you are looking for something other than work to do at the office by this time of day. So I though I would help you kill the rest of the afternoon with the hour and half long feature Home.

What is Home?

HOME is an ode to the planet's beauty and its delicate harmony. Through the landscapes of 54 countries captured from above, Yann Arthus-Bertrand takes us on an unique journey all around the planet, to contemplate it and to understand it. But HOME is more than a documentary with a message, it is a magnificent movie in its own right. Every breathtaking shot shows the Earth - our Earth - as we have never seen it before. Every image shows the Earth's treasures we are destroying and all the wonders we can still preserve. "From the sky, there's less need for explanations". Our vision becomes more immediate, intuitive and emotional. HOME has an impact on anyone who sees it. It awakens in us the awareness that is needed to change the way we see the world. (HOME embraces the major ecological issues that confront us and shows how everything on our planet is interconnected.)

Thanks to Carlton over at Quickrelease TV for the code.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Who Has The Right-of-Way?

This past Monday Michael Urban got off a JTA bus at the 8100 block of 103rd St.. Walked to the front of the bus and removed his bike from the bike rack and returned roadside. According to print and Television news reports Mr. Urban then waited for the bus to clear before attempting to walk his bike across 103rd Street where he was struck and killed by a pickup truck.

Those same news reports quote Lt. Bill Leeper of the Highway Patrol saying, "the cyclist and motorist didn't appear to see each other." That very well may be the situation. But since Mr. Urban will never be able to give his account. Let's assume that just maybe Mr. Urban did see the pickup. Let's also assume that Mr. Urban knew the right-of-way laws that govern our State Roadways. Lets again assume that Mr. Urban's fatal mistake was thinking that the driver of the pickup also knew these very basic and commonsense laws.

As you can see in the picture above (you may need to click on it to see the full size) The intersection where Mr. Urban de-bused with his bike has no signal or crosswalks. If you've been in this city for any length of time, whether driving, biking or walking, you are accustom to this very scene. As actual painted crosswalks tend to be some kind of luxury in Jacksonville.

Since Mr. Urban was in a crosswalk with his bike. No matter if he was walking it or riding it he is considered a Pedestrian. (316.2065(10))

As a pedestrian at an unsignaled intersection, when do you obtain the right-of-way? Lets see what the State has to say: (316.130 (7)(c)) When traffic control signals are not in place or in operation and there is no signage indicating otherwise, the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way, slowing down or stopping if need be to so yield, to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk when the pedestrian is upon the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling or when the pedestrian is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger. Any pedestrian crossing a roadway at a point where a pedestrian tunnel or overhead pedestrian crossing has been provided shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway.

Sounds pretty basic and commonsense doesn't it. If you are driving 4 tons of metal at speed and see a person crossing in front of you, stop before you kill them. But drivers in this city firmly believe they always have the right-of-way. Anyone be damn if they do venture in front of Jax drivers. I'm not saying this is the case here with the pickup that took Mr. Urban's life. I don't have all the facts and haven't seen an accident report. But I have witnessed and experienced many a driver accelerate as I and others attempted to cross Jacksonville roads. I'm also keenly aware that far too many drivers and law enforcement officials alike are just completely ignorant when is comes to bicycle and pedestrian laws and rights.

Here is a great little video I found on Portlandize yesterday and he was kind enough to send me the code for. And since Florida Law and Oregon Law don't differ much, I thought it a very nicely done visual for those who didn't quite get all that legalese above. It's produced by the Portland Department of Transportation (Could you ever imagine the COJ or JTA being this proactive?) and as Portlansize puts it: "illustrating the fact that, by Oregon law, every street corner is considered a crosswalk (whether marked or not), and that once a pedestrian has put a food down in the road, automobile drivers have a responsibility to stop and remain stopped until the pedestrian has cleared both their lane and the one next to it. If the person is blind and using a cane or a seeing eye dog, drivers must wait for them to get to the opposite curb."

Friday, June 5, 2009

Help Me, Help You... Win a Madsen Cargo Bike

The good folks over at Madsen Cycles are giving away not one, but two of their outstanding cargo bikes.

You can help me, help you win one of these lovely machines. The way you can help is by simply clicking on the image above or the one on the right. Madsen is giving one bike at random to a site that has linked to them thru July 15th. The second bike will be given away via a random drawing of top 20 sites that sent traffic to them. Thus the need for you to click over from Bike Jax and check them out.

How does this help you? Should Bike Jax pull off the upset and win one of these great bikes. It would be made an addition to The Night Ride raffle. So by helping better my chances with the thousands, I'll help you out by getting the odds of you winning down into the hundreds.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

An Art Walk Farewell To Anna

Sorry for the long delays in posting. It's funny how that because of Bike Jax, I along with the help of many of you have been able to affect the start of real change in the bike community here in Jax. But the along with the work to make that change comes the downside of lots phone calls, emails and meetings. Which leaves little time for the thing that got me here in the first place.

This post is dedicated Anna Berken.

Anna was the first person to answer the call to arms when I needed some help with Bike Jax. She Has been a true friend to me and Bike Jax since. Anna is a graphic designer and you've seen her work via Bike Jax in the form of posters, flyers and the most bad-ass bike blog logo in the bike blog business. (Good god, hit me!) Anna currently hones her skills for the Florida-Times Union. That is until tomorrow, when she ends her reign as newspaper graphics goddess and heads west to start a new life chapter in Austin.

The First Wednesday Downtown Art Walk and Anna send off celebration took place yesterday. While I awaited Anna's arrival I thought I would wander the streets of Downtown Jacksonville and snap a few pictures in the hopes of convincing Anna to rethink her pending move.

Anna how likely are you to see a drum line lead by a seqway through the city center Austin?

Do you really expect to encounter a sexy gothic nurse in the company of an effeminate dragon-zebra-boy in Austin?

And if you did, would also be as surprised as I was to learn that a man can breath fire and not the dragon-zebra-boy?

And what about the bikes? Are you really expecting bikes to be in as much widespread daily use as we have here in Jax? Don't Answer. We already know the answer. We suck in comparison.

How could you possible leave this once a month goodness in Jacksonville for a daily dose in the city of Austin, TX? A city's who's motto I would like to remind you is, "Keep It Weird".

Anna here are few more images of your last Art Walk in Jax in slideshow form.

I guess your mind is made up Anna, and as you prepare to leave us for forever. I want to say how much you and that ever infectious smile of yours will be missed. Oh, one more thing I like to say, Dibs! I call dibs on the couch for next years SXSW.