Posted by Allene La Spina on November 16, 2019 in Education
Working in the field to have a better understanding of all our programs and efforts to bring bike safety to Greater New Orleans.
When I got my LCI Certification through Bike Easy three and a half years ago, it never occurred to me that I would end up working with them full time in the future. Now that I’m part of the team as the Program and Operations Manager, I’ve made a conscious effort to participate, collaborate, and support as many facets of our Programs as I am able.
A week ago, I had the pleasure to help co-teach a Road Riding class for 4th and 5th grade students at Washington Elementary in Metairie. I worked with Lauren, who also got the LCI certification at the same time as I did so that was fun on its own, but the best part was seeing the smiles of the kids as they learned about bike safety and in general gained confidence riding bikes. The curriculum includes 2 days of in class instruction and 3 days on bike practice. I came in for the latter and it was a blast! It was quite the operation to load our bike fleet to a truck, to bring to the school, to pump the tires, to make sure that everyone knew how to fit their bikes and helmets, and to make sure everyone was confident enough to go on the road on the last day.
It is true that working with children can leave many exhausted, but in my experience with these kids, the reward of their smiles and participation made all the work worth it.
Our annual bike and walk encouragement event for kids, families, and schools!
Next week is New Orleans’ Walk & Roll to School Week! Walk & Roll to School Week is a week-long effort that teaches children how to safely enjoy the health benefits of walking and biking. With the support of Safe Routes to School Programs and working with schools, community organizations, and parents, Bike Easy gets more students biking and walking to school through educational events.
During the school year, Bike Easy partners with various schools to provide in-classroom pedestrian and bicycle safety training for students. Walk & Roll to School Week is a way for schools to celebrate students who walk or bike to school & encourage active transportation!
All schools throughout the region are encouraged to participate during Walk & Roll to School Week in 2019. If you are interested in hosting a Walk & Roll to School event, here are sample activities to rally students and families for your celebration!
The days are getting shorter - follow these tips to stay riding safely at all hours of the day
As daylight wanes, more people on bikes will find themselves needing to ride in dark conditions. Riding at night can present more dangerous challenges than riding in the day, but if you’re prepared, you can find that it’s equally viable as a transportation option and can be pretty fun, too!
Lights! Lights! Lights!
The more visible you are, the better. There are many kinds of cool bike lights you can get nowadays, but at minimum you need a front white light and rear red light (just like on a car!). Riding without lights not only makes people on bikes difficult to see in dark conditions, it’s also a ticketable offense. Louisiana law RS 32:329.1 requires a lamp mounted on the front to emit a white light visible from a distance of at least five hundred feet to the front as well as a lamp mounted on the rear that shall emit either a flashing or steady red light visible from a distance of five hundred feet to the rear.
Lights are for you to be seen as well as for you to see obstacles in the road – be sure to keep your front handlebar light illuminated to the ground. Keep your rear red light flashing to be seen from behind. The most visible lights of all strap around your ankle to bring attention to the movement of pedaling feet.
Keep extra lights or batteries with you. USB rechargeable lights are great but need frequent recharging so bring them in to charge with your phone at night! Know how to take your lights off and on – and remember to do so – as bike lights frequently fall victim to theft.
Wear bright colored clothing and reflective gear. Get reflective tape and cover as much as you can – your bike frame, pedals, crank, bags, gear and clothing.
Louisiana law RS 32:329.1 also requires a red reflector mounted on the rear and a reflector on each side facing outward at a right angle to the bicycle frame visible to 600 feet from the headlights of a motor vehicle.
Diagnose any problems on your bike BEFORE you ride. Better to deal with it then than break down or fall into any unsafe situation out on the road. Check your tires, brakes and chain. Make sure bolts and quick releases are tightened. Be sure nothing will come loose or get stuck in your bike while riding. Keep a phone with you in case of emergency when riding alone.
Riding smart also means obeying the law and riding predictably. Always ride in the direction of traffic, obey all stop signs and signals, and avoid swerving between traffic or parked cars. Ride defensively and remember you are entitled to the space you need to operate safely on the road.
Know Where You’re Going
Plan your route in advance. Use a bike map to find the most bike-friendly routes. Take a well-lit path or a street you’ve become familiar with in the daytime so you know what kind of obstacles to expect so you don’t fall into an unseen pothole or get stuck in some tricky streetcar tracks.
Posted by Dan Favre on November 5, 2019 in Advocacy
Vote YES on November 16th for four ballot measures that will improve our complete streets infrastructure and protect vulnerable residents
From potholes and flooding to unsafe roads and sidewalks, New Orleanians have dealt with failing infrastructure for too long. It’s more important than ever to improve our streets and mobility to be safe and accessible for everyone – whether driving, walking, biking, or taking transit. The people of New Orleans currently have the opportunity to ensure more resources are dedicated to street infrastructure, including complete streets and bike infrastructure!
There are four separate ballot measures that will help improve safety and accessibility of our streets, ensure better long-term maintenance of our infrastructure, and protect our most vulnerable residents. Bike Easy is encouraging all of our members and supporters to vote YES on all 4 ballot measures.
Early voting is November 2 – 9, and election day is November 16th! Make sure to get out and cast your “yes” votes for:
This provides the city more funding for road repairs, complete streets, and stormwater management without increasing taxes! It also allows the city to use some of the funds to build affordable housing. Complete streets and the low-stress bikeway network are a part of the city’s overall infrastructure improvements. These dollars can also be leveraged to add complete streets features to FEMA-funded repair projects. This funding is also key to improving safety and accessibility on our streets.
Maintenance Fund Millage
This measure creates a dedicated maintenance fund for infrastructure for the first time in New Orleans. The lack of maintenance funds ends up costing us more in the long-run, and it is now threatening further federal investment to support new infrastructure. The measure reinstates and reallocates a recent 3-mill property tax reduction in order to provide approximately $12 million for on-going street, drainage, and public building maintenance. While more money for maintenance will still need to be found, this is an important start and can support efforts like bike lane restriping, replacing broken bollards, and keeping bike lanes clean and clear of debris.
Short-Term Rental Tax
This measure is part of the overall #fairshare agreement negotiated by Mayor Cantrell, the state, and business leaders, and it ensure visitors that stay in short-term rentals pay the same local taxes as those who stay in hotels. Visitors benefit from and need city services – from public safety to good drainage, and this will ensure they help contribute to needed infrastructure improvements. More funding for infrastructure will mean improved safety and accessibility on our streets for residents and visitors alike!
Human Rights Commission
This measure creates a Human Rights Commission in the City Charter that can help strengthen and enforce anti-discrimination laws. Bike Easy’s works to increase safe mobility options in part to improve health and economic equity, and the Human Rights Commission will help ensure that everyone can live up to their full potential, regardless of their gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, or income-level.
For more safety and less stress, make sure to vote yes on all of these ballot measures! Early voting is going now through November 9th, and election day is on November 16th.
Help build awareness and mobilize support for Bike Easy with a part-time contract to manage social media and other communications
Bike Easy seeks an enthusiastic and talented storyteller who loves communicating via social media and online platforms to help build awareness of Bike Easy’s brand, work, and accomplishments. Bike Easy believes in the power of bicycling and better mobility to improve our region, and we inspire people to take action and get involved through compelling stories and strategic outreach. The successful candidate will have a deep knowledge of social media, experience creating narratives, and a commitment to improving Greater New Orleans. This is a part-time, contract position with opportunity for growth.
Manage Bike Easy social media accounts, from overall strategy to individual posts and responses, including some basic graphic design for posts
Work with Bike Easy staff to coordinate regular organizational communications including weekly emails, blogs, and other web content
Support staff in using Nationbuilder, our CRM and email software, to deliver content
Deep knowledge of and passion for communicating via social media, including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter
Excellent writing and grammar skills
Passion for making positive change for the people of Greater New Orleans, particularly related to transportation issues and bicycling
Understanding of using organizational/brand voice, adapting talking points and messaging frames, and how to navigate sensitive, contentious topics respectfully
Basic to advanced understanding of web design and software maintenance
Experience with graphic design utilizing design standards and an engaging visual language
Excellent attention-to-detail and time management
Ability to work independently and coordinate efficiently
The Communications Coordinator will report directly to the Executive Director and work closely with the entire Bike Easy team. Regular weekly coordination meetings will be expected, but scheduling is otherwise flexible. This is a contract position that will average approximately 20 hours per week, starting at $15 to $18 per hour, depending on experience. While some experience is necessary, there is strong potential for this position to be a good fit for people early in their communications career. Bike Easy is committed to making real a vision of a healthy, prosperous, resilient, and equitable future for the people of greater New Orleans. In line with that vision, our organizational culture values growth, leadership development, motivation and encouragement in the many pursuits of the people who work here with us.
a short cover letter,
links/handles of personal or professional social media platforms you control (if you share an example of a social media channel that you previously controlled on behalf of another entity, please include the dates that you directly managed it), and
a short writing sample (please send something you’ve already written, no matter the subject, and do not write anything specific to this application).
The application will remain open until a contract is finalized.
Dispatch from the 2019 Bike!Bike! Conference in Tijuana
Bike! Bike! is an annual international gathering organized by and for community bicycle projects, bike advocacy groups, and people who are just passionate about bikes and mobility justice. The conference offers a space for participants from these shops and related advocacy groups to converge in a different city each year to have workshops, ride bikes, and get to know each other beyond borders.
A little background – the Bike! Bike! conference actually got its start at the Plan B Community Bike Shop right here in New Orleans a year before Hurricane Katrina. The volunteer-run Plan B played host to Bike! Bike! once again in 2013, shortly before the bike shop was forced to close its doors for good after encroaching gentrification kept the shop from being able to continue to operate at its location on Elysian Fields Avenue (Plan B’s original location was inside The Ark warehouse at 511 Marigny St., where I bought my first New Orleans bicycle for $15 shortly after Katrina).
Since it’s founding in 2004, Bike! Bike! has grown to become to be the primary mode of collaboration among hundreds of bike co-operatives and collectives around the world. This year, the city of Tijuana served as host the gathering, offering a unique lens from the perspective of a city faced with the challenges of being on the U.S-Mexico border in the present political climate. The conference was based around a new community bike shop there called Bicis Dicidentes, or “Dissident Bikes”. The shop is housed in the basement of Enclave Caracol, an autonomous community space that is also home to a cafe and a legal service provider for migrants.
Packing up my bike before heading out to ride across the border. The San Diego bike collective Bikes del Pueblo built and donated several bikes for participants to bring to Tijuana.
All packed up and headed towards the border.
A workshop on Bike Centers takes place at Cafe Sekani
Hanging out between workshops at Enclave Caracol
This was a great moment from the workshop “Multiple Intelligence Theory In Bike Education”. This group was tasked with teaching with teaching wheel maintenance by using methods appealing to nine different types of intelligence – everything from verbal-linguistic intelligence to musical, naturalistic and existential.
A big group ride took us biking across the city of Tijuana for this nice photo op.
A workshop on using bikes to create autunomous communities takes place inside Bicis Dicidentes
Flier for the post-conference group ride
Packing up the bikes for the conference post-ride to Playa La Mision
Riding south along the Mexico-U.S. border
Mexico is keeping the conference for another year – next year’s Bike! Bike! will take place even further south – in Mexico City.
This conference is a huge labor of love, so a giant thank you to all who put in so much work to make it happen!
A new tool to find Fixit Stations, Bike Easy Business Members, and events!
Have you ever needed to find the closest Fixit Station while out on a ride? Do you want to support local businesses who advocate for bike safety in Greater New Orleans? We put together the Bike Easy Map to provide all of this information in one convenient place! Keep reading past the map below for illustrated tutorials on finding and using the Bike Easy Online Map on your phone and computer.
Posted by David Meza on October 10, 2019 in Advocacy
Community Program Coordinator, David Meza, visited this year’s conference in Indianapolis
Last week, I visited Indianapolis for North American Bike Share Association’s (NABSA) 2019 conference: How We Move. I was invited earlier this year to share some of the work I’ve done around equity through New Orleans’ bike share system, Blue Bikes, and was excited to encourage other programs to strive towards equity in their own systems. In addition, last year’s conference offered a lot of information on the changing landscape of bike share and other micro-mobility options, with changes coming to New Orleans I hoped to learn lessons from cities that have already gone through similar changes.
“Micro-mobility” is a term referencing light weight vehicles that are used for short-distance trips. Within the scope of this association those include: bike share, E-Bikes, electric scooters, and variations of those modes specifically designed for differently-abled individuals. The scope of this definition is just one example of the expanding horizon of NABSA. In addition to no longer just focusing on “Bike Share” NABSA has expanded to include members throughout Central and South America as well as many representatives from Europe. As the industry expands, demand is sure to hit New Orleans. We know that New Orleans will not be a great fit for every new vehicle available but knowing what is working and what challenges have arisen is something that I, as an advocate, feel it’s important to be plugged in to. New Orleans City officials have previously put a halt on electric scooter share entering our city, citing our narrow sidewalks and lack of infrastructure, but are making leaps in regulating e-bikes as Blue Bikes prepares to upgrade to an e-bike fleet.
I began my conference experience by getting to go on a long ride on an e-bike. I haven’t had much experience on E-Bikes, just test riding a couple for a block or two each time, and am a bit of a purist so I’ve never been the biggest fan. I do understand that many people who would never usually ride can be converted by the ease of these vehicles and, more importantly, these allow people who would otherwise be unable to use a bicycle to expand their options. I’d signed up for a guided tour of the greenway and Cultural Trail in Indianapolis to see the infrastructure and city. Especially with the hope of the Lafitte Greenway expanding, I was excited to join this 12 mile ride. It was a unusually hot day in Indianapolis so I was actually quite relieved to hear the BCycles had rolled out e-bikes specifically for the NABSA conference. Once everyone who truly wanted an e-bike had got on one there were still a couple left so I jumped on one.
We began our ride going through the heart of downtown. The Indianapolis Cultural Trail is not only the manager of the local bike share (operated by BCycle) but also a physical trail, built at sidewalk level as part of a largely extended curb which runs throughout the city. With over 25 people in our group, we were tightly bunched during this section and had frequent stops for pedestrians and lights. As we made our way towards the University and Medical center I noticed that the motor on the bicycle made pedaling infrequent and I had to use my brake quite a bit. While others riding traditional bikes had a tougher time starting and stopping, they seemed to be more fluid than the motor during a slow roll. We made our way across a large street to a small bridge that began the greenway. Running along the White River, we continued for several miles, only once cutting back through a residential area, over mostly paved terrain with certain spots being made of loose gravel. We stopped halfway through the trail to visit a contemporary art center in the middle of a large green space where a new bike share station had just recently been installed. Managers of the space came out to introduce us to their campus, show us some of the installations, and answer any questions. During the ride back I got out ahead of the group to see how fast I could get the bike to go. It seemed that the motor cut out at 18mph and with the design of the bicycle, that was a difficult pace to maintain. I’d worried about these bikes allowing one to go faster than it should, as an experienced rider I found that the max speed is not really a concern on these particular e-bikes. On the ride back I was thankful that I had chosen an electric bike for this ride, others on the ride were struggling with the long haul back (I did offer to switch with a few of them) though I was happy to easily travel so far while still being on a bike path, I noted that there was a negligible amount of exercise involved, something that is certainly seen as a benefit of bike share by many.
Cultural Trail Cross Walk
The majority of the conference leading up to my panel was a lot about the new technologies being introduced to the micro-mobility industry. E-Bikes, scooters (both sitting and standing options), and data collection technologies were all on full display during the event. My main focus at the conference was around bikes but I did learn some interesting things around scooter systems while there. Meg Young, who used to work for the City of New Orleans, has recently moved to Baltimore to work for the city and one of her projects is a dockless program (primarily scooters). Baltimore had previously tried a bike share system which failed and was removed. Since re-launching with a focus on scooters, the ridership has gone way up and has been received by locals a lot more. The conference was full of stories similar to this and the numbers don’t lie – innovation in the vehicles and operations have greatly improved use. Though I agree that New Orleans is not ready for dockless scooters, and worry about our narrow sidewalks if the city ever does adopt them, I was swayed a bit towards the usefulness of scooters and e-bikes.
I wrote last year about the NABSA conference with a focus on an equity focus. Though there were a few panels focused on equity and a great keynote speaker, this year’s conference was shifted a lot more towards innovation. For that reason I was really honored to sit on a panel and present the work I’ve done through our Bike Share for All program. I talked about many of our community partners which we work with to serve under-served communities and individuals and shared some success stories around these efforts. In preparation for the presentation, I was reflecting on many of the individuals who have expressed their appreciation for Blue Bikes. Two of the contributing factors for many of them have been being able to get exercise and the affordability of the Reduced Fare Program. With an e-bike fleet replacing the traditional bikes, both of these are subject to be changed. Learning from others sitting on my panel I was able to see that the affordability has been addressed in other programs and hope that will prove true here. Though the future is uncertain, it was really great to present our efforts around what we have done. I’m optimistic that Blue Bikes will continue to serve a wide variety of individuals as they expand and look forward to staying plugged in to developments to be better informed about what may be coming to our city and how we can work with it.
On the final night of the conference members of the Better Bike Share Partnership met for a dinner, at a brewery with a bike shop inside!
Bike Easy is excited to be offering our next round of Smart Biking classes on the West Bank! Gretna’s Mel Ott Park will host the class on Saturday October 12th and Sunday October 13th.
Smart Biking is a free, two-session workshop designed to develop confidence and competence of a bicycle rider. Students will learn about choosing a bicycle, basic parts of a bike, essential equipment, as well as how to safely and comfortably ride your bike in various traffic conditions, terrain and climates.
Posted by Dan Favre on September 28, 2019 in Advocacy
Local groups launch campaign to show support for improving transportation options and building safe, complete streets
The New Orleans Complete Streets Coalition, working closely with Mayor LaToya Cantrell and the City of New Orleans, has launched Let’s Move Forward, a campaign to highlight the benefits of improving transportation options and building streets that are safe and accessible for people of all abilities, whether driving, biking, walking, or taking transit. The Coalition also released public opinion research that shows support for investing in streets that are built for all modes of transportation.
The Let’s Move Forward campaign will further community outreach and engagement to ensure everyone throughout New Orleans has the opportunity to enjoy new, improved infrastructure that promotes more safety, more options, more control, and less stress for everyone on the road. Elements of the effort include marketing, grassroots outreach, educational events, bike rides and safety workshops, walking tours, convening stakeholder conversations, community festivals like ‘Let’s Move Forward Algiers!’ held this Saturday in Algiers, and more.
“The road forward to improved transportation options in New Orleans starts in Algiers,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell. “We’re excited about the work we’re doing with our Office of Transportation, especially our Moving New Orleans Bikes plan, in coordination with our partners in the New Orleans Complete Streets Coalition. Working together, we’re making it easier, safer and more equitable when trying to bike, walk, drive, ride the bus or take the ferry. I want to thank the members of the community for their encouraging feedback, it shows that we’re taking the right steps to move this city forward.”
A poll conducted by Dr. Silas Lee and Associates shows that New Orleanians are ready for more transportation options and street infrastructure that improves safety and efficiency for all road users:
Eighty-five percent (85%) of New Orleans residents believe people deserve as many safe transportation options as possible to get to work on time.
Seventy-six percent (76%) of residents understand that having protected lanes separating bicycles from cars makes the roads safer for drivers, and sixty-eight percent (68%) say that they would be more inclined to ride a bicycle if there were protective barriers separating bicycles from cars.
Seventy percent (70%) of residents think that the most efficient transportation system for New Orleans would have separate spaces for people driving, taking transit, biking, and walking.
Dr. Kathleen Kennedy, Board Chair for the American Heart Association New Orleans adds, “The American Heart Association is a firm believer in streets built to share. Everyone deserves well-maintained roads, sidewalks, and paths for physical activities. A comprehensive policy and concerted efforts to this end will promote healthier lifestyles, foster more livable communities and improve public safety.”
“With Moving New Orleans Bikes, the Office of Transportation is taking Mayor Cantrell’s vision for better mobility options and working to rapidly build 75 miles of bikeways that will have a positive impact for everyone navigating the City. We are being very intentional by beginning the first phase of this expansion in Algiers, and appreciate the work of District C Councilmember and Transportation Committee Chair Kristin Gisleson Palmer and the members of the New Orleans Complete Streets Coalition in helping to get this work started,” said Dan Jatres, Policy and Program Manager for the Mayor’s Office of Transportation.
“All communities are dependent on transportation. For our businesses in Algiers to thrive, we need safe, convenient access to and from our residential communities. Bikes are the transportation of choice for a large and growing number of our residents, especially kids and families, and for that reason, AEDF is excited about Mayor Cantrell’s plan to expand safe biking in Algiers and across New Orleans,” said Derrick Martin, Executive Director of the Algiers Economic Development Foundation.
“I love enjoying everything New Orleans has to offer while showing what people who are blind can do. I ride my tandem bike, walk, take public transit, and am a passenger in cars to get where I’m going. Good bike infrastructure from Moving New Orleans Bikes will benefit everyone – even if you mainly drive, and complete streets enable people of all abilities to get around safely,” explained David Green of Lighthouse Louisiana before adding, “We can all have peace on the road when we all have a piece of the road!”
The campaign was officially launched at the start of the ‘Let’s Move Forward Algiers!’ Community Festival on Saturday, September 28. The festival was attended by many families and Algiers residents that enjoyed a variety of free activities like Complete Streets walking tours from GirlTrek and the Algiers Economic Development Foundation, biking tours from the City of New Orleans, exercise classes from Crossfit Algiers, food and refreshments from Big Dawg BBQ and Tanjarine Kitchen, and a ‘Battle of the Bands’ between Martin Behrman Charter School and SciTech Academy.
More information on the New Orleans Complete Streets Coalition and Let’s Move Forward, including details and further results of the public opinion research by Dr. Silas Lee & Associates, is available at www.nolacompletestreets.org.