Get a taste of bike sharing this Sunday

Bike Sharing is a relatively new transportation solution. The idea has been around for a while now, the most recent inception is Paris’s Velib sharing program.

Today SFGate tackled the idea of San Francisco implementing a Bike Share Program. In January the Mayors Office announced a bike sharing plan for San Francisco. The idea has drawn criticism from many that the program is starting too small, San Francisco doesn’t have the proper bicycle infrastructure to handle a bike share program and a complaint that the bike share program would be funded by Clear Channel.

That being said this Sunday at car -free Golden Gate Park, a mini bike share program, BIXI, will be letting people give bike sharing a shot.

Read more about the plan here.

Matt Gramly on KRON 4

Tonight Matt Gramly is going to be on KRON 4 discussing the controversial helmet law in El Cerrito, CA.

In El Cerrito, the ordinance was never posted, never published and no one knew of its existence until the police dept. went on an “enforcement campaign” and started ticketing bicyclists left and right. One of them decided to fight. Rahman Gramly took his case, took it to trial and received a not guilty verdict. It was not a big case but the principle was important to our client.

Watch him discuss tonight on the KRON 4 six o’clock news.

Cheers!

Transit Cuts

Transit seemed like it might be getting a fair shake via state stimulus funds. Turns out many transit agencies across the country are cutting funding and raising fares.
Streetsblog reports that Illinois is facing the loss of $1 billion of stimulus funds devoted to transit projects and planning as a stop loss measure due to increasing budget woes. Even though transit ridership has increased over 9% in the last five years highway development and improvement projects are given a green light. Meanwhile AC Transit is cutting service by %15, Muni is facing a loss of $61 million over the next tow years and the state as a whole cut transit funding by $536 million.

We’ll see what happens. Let’s hop on bikes and hope for the best!

Bicycle Helmet Laws in El Cerrito, CA

Matthew Gramly, a partner at Rahman Gramly LLP recently fought and won a case concerning El Cerrito bicycle helmet laws. Check out the press release below.

********

April 8, 2009

Press Release

Bet You Did Not Know that El Cerrito has a Helmet Law for ALL Bicyclists?

On the morning of November 5, 2008 Michael Schaller, a Berkeley resident, boarded BART with his bicycle and rode to the El Cerrito station. As he had done each day for the past year, Mr. Schaller, exited the train in El Cerrito with his bike to cycle the short distance to his office. As he rode his bicycle (in a striped bicycle lane) an El Cerrito motorcycle police officer stepped in front of him and asked, “Where is your helmet?” Mr. Schaller, who was aware that the California Vehicle Code only requires that helmets be worn by cyclists who are under 18 years old, was surprised at being stopped. As it happens, the El Cerrito Police Department was in the middle of a two-day “enforcement campaign” in the area of the BART station, the sole purpose of which was to cite bicyclists not wearing helmets.

Mr. Schaller was issued a citation for violating El Cerrito Municipal Ordinance Section 11.64.100 (c), which reads, “It is unlawful to ride a bicycle as an operator or passenger without wearing a safety helmet.” The citation carried a fine of $127. Mr. Schaller, who prior to receiving his citation had been unaware of the helmet-related ordinance, chose to fight this citation and hired the San Francisco law firm of Rahman Gramly LLP to represent him.

Matthew Gramly, a partner with the firm of Rahman Gramly LLP, represented Mr. Schaller at the March 24, 2009 hearing in the Superior Court of Contra Costa County. Mr. Gramly argued that the City failed to post any notice about their helmet law, as required by El Cerrito’s Municipal Code Section 1.10.010, the citation should be dismissed. Mr. Gramly also argued that as the California Vehicle Code is at odds with the City’s helmet law, the California law should pre-empt the local ordinance.

The police officer who issued the citation testified that despite many years as an officer, he could not recall ever having issued another citation under El Cerrito’s helmet law.

After taking the matter under submission, on March 26, 2009, the Court determined that Mr. Schaller was not guilty and the citation was dismissed. Mr. Schaller and his attorneys were pleased with the result, however, Mr. Gramly noted “My partner and I represent many cyclists and as a result of the often devastating injuries we see, we encourage all of our clients to wear protective gear, including helmets. The issue for Mr. Schaller was one of fundamental fairness.”

Be warned. El Cerrito has a helmet law and they are enforcing it.

Bike to Work Day 2009

Celebrate Bike to Work Day on May 14th by dusting off an old bike that has been sitting in the garage or by checking the air pressure on your well loved ride.

Bay Area Bike to Work Day is an annual event that encourages cyclists of all ages and skill levels to participate in a friendly, safe, commute to work, play or school.

The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition has set up some amazing resources to make the event the best if can be from Commuter Convoys to Energizer Stations.

Take a look at last years pictures and click this link for more information about this years Bike to Work Day!

MTA Releases Revised Budget Proposal, List of Muni Service Cuts

The Municipal Transit Authority is currently racking up a $129 Million budget gap for 2009-2010. Yikes! What does that mean for the average Muni rider who already has to deal with surly bus drivers and sub par arrival times?

According to this Streetsblog article, the MTA has a few proposals including: a 50 cent fare hike for a single adult rider, $15 increase of an adult Fast Pass raising from $45 to$60 as well as some serious cuts in service to major lines in the city.

“There’s no doubt that these options, especially option three, would significantly reduce service to Muni customers,” said MTA spokesperson Judson True, who added that where possible, alternative service has been identified and will be improved to make up for reduced service.

You can speak up at the upcoming hearings and meetings

  • Tuesday, April 7, 2 p.m., MTA Board of Directors Meeting and Public Hearing, City Hall, Room 400
  • Tuesday, April 14, 9 a.m, MTA Board of Directors Policy and Governance Committee, One South Van Ness Avenue, 2nd Floor Atrium Conference Room
  • Saturday, April 18, 10 a.m to 2 p.m, MTA Information Meeting on Proposals to Balance Budget, One South Van Ness Avenue, 2nd Floor Atrium Conference Room
  • Tuesday, April 21, 2 p.m., MTA Board of Directors Meeting and Public Hearing, City Hall, Room 400
  • Thursday, April 30, 2 p.m, Special MTA Board of Directors Meeting on Fiscal Year 2010 Budget, City Hall, Room 400

Lead law likely to still apply to dirt bikes, ATVs

The Consumer Product Safety Commission decided against recommending an exemption for all-terrain vehicles and dirt bikes. the bikes and ATV’s have higher than allowed levels of lead in various components. The law is called the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. Creating a ban on the sale of youth dirt bikes and all terrain vehicles, leads to a bigger concern among parents and advocates for the exemption; that parents will now buy adult sized ATV’s and dirt bikes for thier kids.
Read the full article here.

Great SfGate Article on San Francisco Hills

San Francisco is notorious for it’s super steep hills. I have heard many a public transit commuter say that they only reason they don’t ride a bike in the city is because of the hills. According to Sf Gate there are three categories of hill riders; avoiders, acceptors and lovers.

Learn more about your San Francisco hill riding style is here.

MTA Mulls Scenarios for Moving Bike Plan Forward

Streetsblog has a very informative article concerning options for moving San Francisco’s stalled Bike Plan forward.
The process for re-adopting the Bike Plan is fairly long due to bureaucratic process. While the final Environmental Impact Review will be done sometime in late June, that doesn’t mean new bike lanes will start being constructed July 1st. As the article describes, the process goes something like this:

  • Planning Department prepares responses to comments on DEIR, publishes comments and responses document (Final EIR), probably sometime in June
  • Planning Commission deliberates and certifies EIR
  • MTA Board deliberates and adopts the Bicycle Plan
  • City Attorney goes back to Judge Busch and asks him to lift the injunction
  • MTA Board deliberates and approves bike network improvement projects
  • MTA issues work orders and begins implementing new bicycle facilities and other improvements like bike racks and sharrows

Take a look for yourself and see what projects can move forward, stay put or have the possibility of rejection.