DCLD Rules Finish Line and Join the Board of Bend Bikes!

Some good stuff this month… an important call to action to get bold visionary transportation rules at the state level, last call to join the board of Bend Bikes, statewide e-bike policy development, and more volunteer love!  

Call to Action: Let’s Ensure the Best for Network for People Who Bike in Bend and Get the DLCD Rules Over the Finish Line!

Board president LeeAnn O’Neill and board secretary Elisa Cheng have been deeply involved as members of the Department of Land Conservation and Development’s (DCLD) Climate Friendly and Equitable Communities rules advisory committee over the last year and a half. From countless committee meetings to deep collaboration with like-minded community partners, we have made some big strides, and the end is near!

The biggest wins that came out of all our work are for people who bike are:

  1. Bend will be required to have a “connected network of bicycle facilities that provides a safe, low stress, direct, and comfortable experience for people of all ages and abilities.”
  2. “All ages and abilities” is defined as including:
    1. School-age children;
    2. People over 65 years old;
    3. Women;
    4. People of color;
    5. Low-income riders;
    6. People with disabilities;
    7. People moving goods, cargo, or other people; and
    8. People using shared mobility services.
  3. Cities can use the National Association of City Transportation Officials’ (NACTO) Urban Bikeway Design Guide (2nd Edition), or develop custom plans that result in outcomes consistent with using NACTO standards, to comply with the rules. This would require that any bike lane on a street signed 25 mph or more on the bike network, among other things, would be required to be a protected bike lane. 

One of our biggest concerns, however, is pushback from the Oregon Department of Transportation to include ODOT’s Blueprint for Urban Design as an option for local governments. The ODOT manual is at odds with the best practice set forth by NACTO, and only requires protected bike lanes on a street signed 30 or 35 mph or more. ODOT is attempting to derail the consensus among city staff and community based organizations to include the ODOT guidelines in the rules.

The Land Conservation and Development Commission will be reviewing what we think will be the final draft and anticipate adoption at their May 19th meeting. We are asking Bend Bikes supporters to:

1. Submit public comments to [email protected] with the following talking points (and please feel free to make them your own and add your own thoughts):

I am asking the LCDC Commissioners to direct staff to include solely the NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide 2nd Edition as the safe harbor and clear standard for all on-street bicycle networks. This is important to me because… 

ODOT guidelines should not be applicable or referenced because ODOT has jurisdiction over state highways, and the connected bike network mandated by the rules should not be on state highways unless absolutely necessary. If it is necessary, and reference to an ODOT document is required, then the use of ODOT’s guidelines should be only on that state highway segment. For all city streets, I am asking that the NACTO guidelines be used.

2. If you haven’t already, join the 1,300 people already signed onto our general community support letter for bold rules that prioritize accessible public transit, walking, rolling, and biking over projects that incentivize driving!

Last Call to Join the Board of Bend Bikes: Applications due May 1st!

Bend Bikes has a few board vacancies coming up and we are looking to add to our amazing team! We encourage folks who are new to board service, whose voices have been excluded from bike advocacy historically, and who might be interested in being supported or mentored into becoming the Bend Bikes treasurer over time. 

The Bend Bikes board at our “board retreat” bikepacking out in the Ochocos last October.

You can apply at: https://forms.gle/M95LV4rE7sNjvM59A or by emailing [email protected] if you need an alternate way to apply or have any questions. Applications are due May 1st, interviews will be in May, and we hope to get new board members up and running in June!

Statewide E-Bike Policy Development Workshop

Bend Bikes joined dozens of people from Bend and across the state who ride e-bikes, e-bike dealers, trails and parks staff, government officials, and a range of active transportation advocates at an e-bike policy development workshop hosted by the Oregon Environmental Council this month. The focus was to inform state-level policy development to make it easier, safer, and more convenient for everybody to get around on e-bikes and build community with e-bike stakeholders around the state. 

E-bike specific barriers discussed included the high price tag to purchase, the sharing of mixed use trails, the current statute in Oregon which limits users to 16 and older, and the perception that people who ride e-bikes are “cheating” by using a motor.

[Photo: Juiced Bikes] 36 states use a 3-class system to help define the different types of e-bikes. Oregon does not use this system and instead the statute states that “electric bicycles must be designed for ground operation with wheels [and the] motor cannot propel the bike more than 20mph on level ground and cannot have an output above 1,000 watts.

E-bike specific policy development ideas that came out of this workshop included:

  • Providing a rebate for e-bike purchases similar to that provided to e-car purchases; and 
  • Updating the Oregon statute regulating e-bikes to be modeled after the People for Bikes model statute that has been adopted by many states already.

Stay tuned for updates and if you are passionate about e-bike advocacy, email Jim Elliott at [email protected] to get involved!

Bend Bikes Vision: Slow Down (aka Signs, Signs, Everywhere Signs!)

The signs in lawns, where people decide to ride their bikes, and street design can all help people who bike assess the safety of a street. The message from all these signs is clear… people who walk, bike, and roll feel safer when cars slow down or when they have a barrier protecting them from the roadway.

Signs begging vehicles to slow down tell us that cars go too fast down that stretch of road and seeing people (legally) riding their bikes on the sidewalk when there is a painted bike lane is a clear sign that people don’t feel safe riding on the street.
While we don’t have a protected bike lane to showcase yet (coming soon to the Wilson Avenue corridor this summer), street design can help people who bike feel safer by forcing cars to slow down.

The Neighborhood Street Safety Program has money allocated to it annually, which allows the various Neighborhood Associations to submit safety projects for their neighborhood each year. So when you stand in your front yard and observe your street and your neighborhood, what signs do you see that say it is safe or unsafe? 

If you would like to move from “Slow Down” signs and “Little Green Men” to streets designed for people and families in your neighborhood, members of Bend Bikes are available to attend Neighborhood Association meetings this year to talk about the best way to advocate for improvements, send a note to [email protected] and a member of our Outreach team will get back to you!

Bend Bikes Volunteer Spotlight: Henry Abel

We have a few superstar volunteers, and this month, we are featuring Henry Abel from Pine Mountain Sports, who has provided us input and support for our bike map, from marketing the map to valuable insight from the bike shop perspective!

[Photo: Henry Abel] Henry in his happy place!

“From riding motorcycles to pedaling bicycles built for two, I have a lifelong love of all things with two wheels. My day job has me commuting year-round by bicycle while working at Pine Mountain Sports so I have a front row seat for bike commuting, and especially mountain biking in Bend. After working at bike shops in Bend for 20 years, there’s always been a giant gap between the endless options for Bend mountain bike trail maps and the non-existence of any maps for bike lanes in the same town. At Pine Mountain Sports, we’d like to encourage visitors to ride their bikes to the mountain bike trailheads more often instead of driving and my hope is that the Bend Bikes map will become a great resource for that.”