Walk to School Day 2012 Success!

State and city leaders walked with students to school to celebrate SF’s status as the first California city to adopt safer school zones citywide. 

Walk to School 2012

“This year, San Francisco became the state’s first city to create 15-mile-per-hour speed limits citywide, at 181 schools. At Buena Vista Horace Mann, 23% of the students live within one mile of school and 19% walk, according to the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH). Citywide, 42% of all students live within walking distance of school, but only 25% of students walk. SFDPH works with 15 elementary schools in its Safe Routes to School program to encourage walking and biking, as one important way to increase children’s daily physical activity.”

On Wednesday, International Walk to School Day, a record 8,500 students walked to school with their families in San Francisco.

“We Love Walking to School”

“Lower traffic speeds make streets safer,” said Elizabeth Stampe, executive director of Walk San Francisco, which led the campaign for the 15-mile-per-hour zones. “The new school zones are calming traffic to make the city more livable and walkable for everyone. We’re encouraging cities throughout California to follow San Francisco’s lead.”


Walk San Francisco (WalkSF.org)



San Francisco Has Done it Again

San Francisco has been deemed America’s Best City 2012 by businessweek.com. San Francisco’s fellow top 5 cities- Portland, Washington D.C., Seattle and Boston were all ranked based on:

  1. Leisure Attributes (the number of restaurants, bars, libraries, museums, professional sports teams, and park acres by population)
  2. Educational Attributes (public school performance, the number of colleges, and rate of graduate-degree holders)
  3. Economic Factors (income and unemployment)
  4. Crime
  5. Air Quality
  6. Major professional league and minor league teams, as well as U.S.-based teams belonging to international leagues

San Francisco scored as follows:

  • 6th in Leisure
  • 1st in Education
  • Top 20 in Economic Factors (due largely to ‘young techies’ driving up living costs and the large homeless population)
  • Top 20 in Air Quality

Here is the description to put in Tourist Brochures:

San Francisco

Credit for Photo: http://mcmanuslab.ucsf.edu/SF

Rank: 1

Population: 808,854

The City by the Bay, this year’s winner, provides residents with the best blend of entertainment, education, safety, clear air, and a prosperous economic base. As the heart of the Bay Area, San Francisco draws on the prosperity of Silicon Valley and possesses its own diverse history well represented at cultural centers such as the de Young Museum. Residents care fiercely about their cafés and causes; night life flourishes in the Mission and the Castro, while tech companies code away in SoMa.

Bars: 394
Restaurants: 3,430
Museums: 70
Libraries: 52
Pro sports teams: 2
Park acres per 1,000 residents: 7
Colleges: 17
Percent with graduate degree: 16
Median household income: $90,640
Percent unemployed: 7.8




Walk SF Has a New Director- Shaana A. Rahman!

Shaana has been appointed to Walk SF’s Board of Directors. This wonderful organization works to make San Francisco a “more livable, walkable city and reclaiming our streets as shared public space for everyone to enjoy.”

Walk SF has been working since 1998 to make San Francisco the most walkable city in the United States and they have made some great strides (pun definitely intended), including:

•     Making San Francisco the first big city in the state with citywide 15-mph school zones, making streets safer around 181 schools!
•     Securing funds to make the streets better for walking, including $50 million in the 2011 Streets Bond.
•     Watch-dogging the police and District Attorney to make sure they enforce laws that keep you safe when you walk.
•     Helping to launch car-free Sunday Streets and supporting parklets and plazas to reclaim streets as shared public space.
•     Improving safety on the city’s most dangerous streets, including 19th Ave, Masonic, and Cesar Chavez.
•     Making developers pay the real cost of car traffic and its impacts on pedestrians.
•     Raising fines on cars blocking sidewalks.
•     Winning media and decision-maker attention to the perspective of people who walk!

 Be sure to check out their website to find out more about their current campaigns and their upcoming events.
Congratulations Shaana!

Congress at the Wheel? – Well, we knew it was dangerous…

A while back I wrote about Congress’s progress on negotiations surrounding the Federal Transportation Bill. Now those negotiations are closed, the vote has been taken, and the Federal Transportation Bill has finally passed.

While the passage of any transportation bill is encouraging after so many delays threatened to freeze funds, alternative transportation advocates are understandably disappointed with the final bill. Many of the programs in the previous bill advocating cycling and pedestrian paths have been gutted and funding has been compromised. This news is especially disappointing since representatives, like Senator Barbara Boxer, promised to protect these programs.

Here is an overview, courtesy of America Bikes, of the major differences between the previous transportation bill and the current bill and what this could mean for cyclists and pedestrians in California and the Bay Area.

1) The 2012 bill combines Safe Routes to School, Transportation Enhancements, Recreational Trails and ‘Some Road Usages’ into a single category. These programs no longer have separate funding and distribution mechanisms. This means that not only will alternative transportation programs be competeing against one another for funding, they will also be competing against highway and road projects classified as ‘road usages’.

2) Funding for this category has been cut from $1.2 billion to $800 million.

3) The old bill allowed states to redistribute 10-15% of funds from these alternative transportation programs to other transportation uses.  Under the new bill states could transfer 50-100% depending on the circumstances.

This bill will be in effect until October of 2014.



Federal transportation bill negates decades of progress


Congress at the Wheel?

If you are anything like me, then the multitude of recent articles about the Transportation Bill currently making its way through Congress seem to illustrate one thing: Democrats and Republicans may never be able to agree on anything ever again. However, once you dredge through the partisan bickering and look at what the various versions of the bill propose, there are certain sections that will directly affect Bay Area Transportation.

Background of the Bill:

  • The current transportation bill was set to expire on March 31st, 2012. If this deadline had passed, then funding for transportation programs and workers would stop.
  • However, on March 29th, Congress passed a 3-month extension of the current bill (the latest of many), to give themselves more time to reach an agreement.
  • This extension expires June 30th, 2012.
  • These types of bills are designed to address funding through their deadline. Extensions are not taken into account when funding it allocated. In the case of the current extensions, the Highway Trust Fund has paid the price.  Another extension could bankrupt it and even the passage of the bill does not guarantee its solvency.
  •  There are two separate versions of the bill. The version proposed by the Senate and the changes proposed by the House.
  • Currently,  a committee is trying to reconcile the two bills so that a single bill can be put before the houses for a vote. This process is illustrated by the Transportation for America diagram below.


  • Yesterday 6/13/12- Committee Chairmen, John L. Mica, released a statement about the committee’s progress. It was not encouraging. He stated, “I remain hopeful that we can reach a bicameral compromise with the Senate. However, I am disappointed in the fact that Senate negotiators have yet to move significantly on key House reform proposals.”

The Issues: 

  •  The Bill proposed by the Senate is for a budget of $109 Billion, so job creation is a major concern.
  • The Keystone XL Pipeline and the coal ash amendment (controversial issues for another time)
  • The Cardin-Cochran Agreement 

The Cardin-Cochran Agreement:

  •  The current transportation agreement has 3 programs dedicated to pedestrians and cyclists: Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to School, and Recreational Trail.
  • In the proposed Senate Bill these programs are combined under the Additional Activities section.
  • The ambiguous wording of the Additional Activities section creates the potential for funds to be used in ways detrimental to walking and biking. So, Senators Ben Cardin, a democrat, and Thad Cochran, a Republican, offered a bipartisan amendment to ensure that cities and counties have an opportunity to use Additional Activities funds for biking and walking projects, if they choose to do so. This became the Cardin-Cochran Agreement. To illustrate how the amendment works, I have found another fun diagram: 

  • The idea is that local communities are in the best position to utilize federal funds to make streets safer and more accessible for walking and biking.
  • The problem is that in the committee hearings to reconcile the House and Senate Bills, the House has proposed  a counteroffer which would allow states to “opt out” of Additional Activities funding completely, thus eliminating the Cardin-Cochran agreement and effectively eliminating local access to federal funds.

Negotiations are geared to continue right up until the June 30th deadline. Now, hopefully, we can decipher the daily articles on Congress’s progress and understand how their inability to reach an agreement affects us….

Sources: Congress Extends Current Transportation Bill, Boxer and Inhofe…Try to Avoid 10th Extension, Boxer Changes Her  Tone, Adopts a Fighting Stance, House of Representatives Aims to Eliminate Local Funds for Biking and Walking, House GOP Threatens to Wipe Out Local Control over Bike/Ped Funding

Memorial Day Weekend Kicks Off Most Dangerous Time to be on the Road

Memorial Day weekend kicks off summer in California with great weather, end-of-the school year celebrations, picnics and barbecues. It also kicks off the most dangerous time of the year to be on the roads in California.

May-September sees nearly twice as many fatal motorcycle crashes as other months. Better weather means more people on the roads and this has already led to a spike in vehicle-related fatalities this year. Failure to wear seat belts and drinking-while-driving are huge factors in these accidents.

CHP Officers advise awareness of one’s surroundings and caution when on the roads. “I don’t think the average citizen realizes how many impaired drivers they share the road with” cautioned CHP Officer Sarah Jackson.

California has amazing weather, plenty of attractions and out-door activities and tons of roads to travel and explore.  However, it is important to be aware and to be safe when sharing the road.

Source: SJ Mercury News Article

Establishing School District Liability In Cases Involving the Assault and Battery of Students by Students By Shaana A. Rahman

Unfortunately, we are seeing a rise in both physical and sexual assaults of students, while at school, by other students. While we are all familiar with the schoolyard fight, there is a point at which such fights give rise to liability, not only on the part of the assaulter and his or her parents, but also on the part of school officials, including the school district, and supervising teachers. Similarly, when a child is sexually assaulted at school by another child, it is necessary to evaluate the potential liability of the school entities and its employees. When a parent sends a child off to school, it is with the implicit, and sometimes explicit, understanding that the school will keep the child safe throughout the school day. In fact, it has long been held that “[a] special relationship is formed between a school district and its students resulting in the imposition of an affirmative duty on the school district to take all reasonable steps to protect its students…[t]his affirmative duty arises, in part, based on the compulsory nature of education.” (M.W. v. Panama Buena Vista Union School District (2003) 110 Cal.App.4th 508, 517, citing, Rodriquez v. Inglewood Unified School Dist. (1986) 186 Cal.App.3d 707, 714-715, Cal. Const. art. I §28, subd. (c) [students have inalienable right to attend safe, secure and peaceful campuses]; Educ. Code §48200.)

Additionally, there are a myriad of requirements set forth in the California Education Code and the California Code of Regulations that, if not met, can give rise to liability on the part of district employees. Specifically, Education Code §44807 provides: “[e]very teacher in the public schools shall hold pupils to a strict account for their conduct on the way to and from school, on the playgrounds, or during recess.” Pursuant to Cal. Code Regs., tit. 5, §5551 a principal is responsible for the supervision and administration of his school. Also, § 5552 provides, “[w]here playground supervision is not otherwise provided, the principal of each school shall provide for the supervision by certificated employees of the conduct and safety . . . of the pupils of the school who are on the school grounds during recess and other intermissions.” As many incidents occur during recess periods, this statute is particularly useful in establishing the parameters of the liability. The purpose of the foregoing laws is to regulate students’ conduct “so as to prevent disorderly and dangerous practices which are likely to result in physical injury to immature scholars.” (M.W. v. Panama Buena Vista Union School Dist. (2003) 110 Cal.App.4th 508, 517-18 review denied (Oct 01, 2003) [quotations omitted].)

This article will discuss the three main theories of liability in assault and battery cases: 1) negligent supervision of students, 2) negligent hiring training or supervision of district staff and 3) dangerous conditions of public property. Additionally, I have provided a checklist of documents to obtain to properly investigate a school assault and battery case. (More on student-on-student assault is in another blog, here.)


California Government Code §815.2 provides that “[a] public entity is liable for injury proximately caused by an act or omission of an employee of the public entity within the scope of his employment if the act or omission would, apart from this section, have given rise to a cause of action against that employee.” (Cal. Gov. Code §815.2.) In addition, Government Code §820 provides that “a public employee is liable for injury caused by his act or omission to the same extent as a private person.” (Cal. Gov. Code §820.) Thus, there may be direct liability of school district employees such as teachers, hall monitors and school administrators and vicarious liability for the school district. The majority of such cases hinge on 1) what the school personnel should have done, 2) what they did do and 3) what they failed to do.

Most school districts and schools have written materials that address how the business of the safety of students must be conducted. This is generally in the form of an employee handbook or training materials, which have sections devoted to physical altercations and sexual harassment or assault. Many schools also now have a “zero tolerance” policy for students touching each other, even, that which is, as one school administrator described to me, “innocent touching, like hand holding”. Often such manuals will contain the student-teacher playground ratios, and the supervision requirements during recess, and lunch or other times when students will be moving through the halls. As many physical altercations take place during these times, it can be relatively easy to identify whether or not school officials failed to monitor students when they should have been, including whether there were insufficient numbers of school employees present, making adequate supervision impossible. More problematic are sexual assault cases which generally take place out of view in places like restrooms, empty classrooms or other areas obscured from view of supervising school employees. In these cases, the facts must be scrutinized to evaluate the extent of supervision. An important factor in this analysis is the ages of the children being supervised.

The California Supreme Court in the leading case of Dailey v. Los Angeles Unified School Dist. (1970) 2 Cal.3d 741, 747, has aptly stated the rule (codified in Education Code sec. 44807) concerning negligent supervision:

While school districts and their employees have never been considered insurers of the physical safety of students, California law has long imposed on school authorities a duty to “supervise at all times the conduct of the children on the school grounds and to enforce those rules and regulations necessary to their protection.” [Citations.] . ..The standard of care imposed upon school personnel in carrying out this duty to supervise is identical to that required in the performance of their other duties. This uniform standard to which they are held is that degree of care “which a person of ordinary prudence, charged with [comparable] duties, would exercise under the same circumstances.” . . . Either a total lack of supervision or ineffective supervision may constitute a lack of ordinary care on the part of those responsible for student supervision. (Daily, supra, 2 Cal.3d 741, 747.)

Dailey involved unsupervised students who engaged in a “slapboxing” contest which left one student dead. The Court in Daily opined that “our courts have often held that a failure to prevent injuries caused by the intentional or reckless conduct of the victim or a fellow student may constitute negligence. “ (Id. at 749.) Dailey reversed a directed verdict for the defendant school district. The Dailey court also noted that the younger the students, the greater the vigilance required of the school district, especially for pre-high school students. ( Id. at 748.)


The courts in both M.W. v. Panama Buena Vista Union School and Leger v. Stockton Unified School District (1988) 202 Cal.App.3d 1448 similarly held that a cause of action against a school district is viable for the district employees’ negligent supervision of its students and premises. In Leger, the Court found that the defendant district owed a duty of care to plaintiff and as such was liable to plaintiff pursuant to Government Code §§815.2 and 820. The Court’s opinion was based on its finding of a special relationship between the student and the district employees, including the principal and the wrestling coach. (Leger, at 1459.) The Court also analyzed the foreseeability of the harm to the plaintiff, referencing the holding in Peterson v. San Francisco Community College District, 36 Cal.3d at p. 812.)

The Court in Leger further found that as the defendants at issue would have been liable to plaintiff upon the facts pled if they worked in the private sector, the defendant employees were similarly liable pursuant to §§815. 2 and 820. In M.W. v. Panama, supra, the Court held that the school district owed a duty of care to protect the plaintiff from a sexual assault committed by another student. In so holding, the Court opined that “[s]chool districts are subject to well-established statutory duties mandating adequate supervision for the protection of the students…[t]hese affirmative duties arise from the compulsory nature of school attendance, the expectation and reliance of parents and students on schools for safe buildings and grounds, and the importance to society of the learning activity that takes place in schools.” (Id. at 685-686.) Thus, it is well established that a school district owes a duty of care to its students to protect them from sexual assaults. (See also, Virginia G v. ABC Unified School District (1993) 15 Cal.App.4th 1848, 1855-1856.)

In a recent case involving a playground sexual assault, prior to litigation I was able to procure an employee handbook for a particular school which contained the following: “[y]ard duty is a legal responsibility…[c]irculate in the area around your duty location in order to monitor play.” “STUDENTS MUST BE SUPERVISED AT ALL TIMES.” Armed with the school’s internal policy, it was then just a matter of getting the school personnel to admit that there was no excuse for letting a student out of their sight, even for a moment. It was also then easy to point to the specific conduct on the part of the school personnel which violated the school’s own policy, creating an opportunity in which the assault to occur.


In many instances, the plaintiff may be able to allege that the incident was facilitated by the school district’s hiring and continued employment of personnel who were neither qualified nor properly trained and as a result were ill-equipped to ensure the safety of the children left in their care.

California Code of Regulations, title 5, §§5551 and 5552 requires the school district and its administrators, such as the principal of a school, to staff common areas, including playgrounds with competent, adequately trained staff. Moreover, school administrators have a continuing duty to supervise such staff members to ensure that they were competently performing their sole job, i.e., protecting the children from harm. It is not sufficient for the school to have a host of rules pertaining to safety and supervision. The school administrator must ensure that such rules are being followed by school employees and that such employees have the requisite knowledge and training to execute the rules. (See, Virginia G. v. ABC Unified School District (1993) 15 Cal.App.4th 1848, [sexual molestation of a student by a teacher; held liability can be imposed on the district based on the negligence of its employees who were responsible for the hiring and/or supervision of the teacher if such employees knew or should have known of the teacher’s history of sexual misconduct with students under his supervision.].)

Defendants will typically rely on the Fourth Districts’ holding in DeVillers v. County of San Diego (2008) 156 Cal.App.4th 238,to assert that no cause of action for “negligent training, hiring or supervision (of a public entity’s employees)” by a public entity can be pursued. However, the Court’s analysis in this case distinguished between direct and vicarious liability. Ultimately, the holding is fact specific in a case where there was a tenuous link between the failures of the district and its employees and the third-party’s conduct.

Oftentimes, the school personnel left in charge of supervising children on the playground or on the lunchroom have little or no training on how to identify or prevent potential dangers and have been provided no instructions on how to keep students in their charge safe.


When an assault and battery occurs on school grounds, out of the direct line of sight of a school employee, investigation into whether the configuration of the premises created a dangerous condition is necessary. In sexual assault cases, many times a child will be lured to a location away from other students and teachers to a location such as behind a fence, a dumpster or hedges—something where an activity can be hidden. In this scenario, the school district will assert that they were in fact supervising the children, yet as the act occurred outside of their view they neither knew or should have known about the conduct.

In these circumstances, a cause of action for dangerous condition of public property can be used to assert that the configuration of the premises created a danger, giving rise to the assault. This can occur on playgrounds where there is a gap in a fence, a high hedge or a misplaced dumpster where children congregate to “hide” from school officials.

California Government Code §835 provides that “a public entity is liable for injury caused by a dangerous condition[1] of its property if the plaintiff establishes that the property was in a dangerous condition at the time of the injury, that the injury was proximately caused by the dangerous condition, that the dangerous condition created a reasonably foreseeable risk of the kind of injury which was incurred, and either: (a) [a] negligent or wrongful act or omission of an employee of the public entity within the scope of his employment created the dangerous condition; or (b) [t]he public entity had actual or constructive notice of the dangerous condition under Section 835.2[2] a sufficient time prior to the injury to have taken measures to protect against the dangerous condition.” (Cal. Gov. Code §835.)
Pursuant to §835.4, the reasonableness of the public entity’s act or omission creating the condition is determined by “weighing the probability and the gravity of potential injury to persons … foreseeably exposed to the risk of injury against the practicability and cost of taking alternative action that would not create the risk of injury or of protecting against the risk of injury.” (Cal. Gov. Code §835.4.)

Additionally, Government Code §840.2 provides that “[a]n employee of a public entity is liable for injury caused by a dangerous condition of public property if the plaintiff establishes that the property of the public entity was in a dangerous condition at the time of the injury, that the injury was proximately caused by the dangerous condition, that the dangerous condition created a reasonable foreseeable risk of the kind of injury which was incurred, and that either: (a) [t]he dangerous condition was directly attributable wholly or in substantial part to a negligent or wrongful act of the employee and the employee had the authority and the funds and other means immediately available to take alternative action which would not have created the dangerous condition; or (b) [t]he employee had the authority and it was his responsibility to take adequate measures to protect against the dangerous condition at the expense of the public entity and the funds and other means for doing so were immediately available to him, and he had actual or construction notice of the dangerous condition under Section 840.04 a sufficient time prior to the injury to have taken measures to protect against the dangerous condition.” (Cal. Govt. Code §840.2.)

In these cases, it is important to visit the location where the incident occurred and visually observe what a vigilant school employee could have seen, if they were paying proper attention. It is also important to establish whether the location at issue was, in fact, a location used by students to avoid detection by staff, even if the prior use was for relatively innocuous behavior. Most school personnel tasked with supervising students will admit that there are warning signs that students are either engaging in a prohibited activity like fighting or bullying, or about to engage in such behavior. These warning signs include, groups of students congregating in one area, a group of students who suddenly disappear from the supervisor’s sightline, with one or two students acting as a lookout, and excessive noise. These warning signs should give rise to the school personnel investigating the activity and stopping it before it starts.


It is an unfortunate set of events which leads school personnel to fail to disclose a physical or sexual assault to a child’s parents. The school district will generally fall back on the defense that it had no idea that anything occurred, using their feigned ignorance as an overall defense. As discussed above, if the school district takes the ostrich with their head in the sand approach, this can be compelling evidence of a failure to supervise.

Additionally, where the school district fails to report such violence to a student’s parents, the Courts have found that this may give rise to an independent cause of action on the part of the parents. In the case of Phyllis P. v. Claremont Unified School District (1986) 183 Cal.App.3d 1193, which involved an allegation of sexual molestations at school by a fellow student, the plaintiffs alleged that the school district had learned of the incident but decided not to inform the victim’s mother. The trial court sustained the defendant’s demurrer. The Court of Appeal reversed the ruling of the trial court and held that as the defendants stood in a special relationship to the victim and to her mother, the injuries to the mother were foreseeable and as such the defendants had a duty to inform the mother after learning of the molestation. The Court further opined that the district should have foreseen that withholding the information from the mother would cause more emotional distress. The Court also held that the mother’s cause of action was properly based on her status as a direct victim of defendants’ negligence, and was not derivative of her daughter’s injury. (Phyliss P, supra, 183 Cal.App.3d 1193, 1196-1197.)

Many parents report having continued distress and apprehension following such an incident as they not only no longer trust the school personnel to care for their children, but fear the worst that if something does happen to their child, the school will hide it. This is a crushing realization to a parent who has no choice but to relinquish their child into the hands of a school for a majority of their child’s life, with no reassurance that their child will remain safe.


Before taking on any case against a public entity, it pays to heavily investigate the case beforehand. Take advantage of the virtually free information available through public records act requests which can help you get the following:

a) School protocols and procedures regarding supervision, safety, training of employees and policies on acceptable/unacceptable behavior between students;

b) Training manuals/handbooks which may outline the duties and responsibilities of the school and its personnel with respect to students, including to provide a safe and effective learning environment, complying with district and state policies and regulations, safety of students, monitoring behavior/common areas, recess etc, assessing signs of sexual abuse;

c) Administrative regulations for city/county –student safety, playground safety etc.;

d) “Touching” or “sexual assault” policies—most = “zero tolerance” even for “innocent touching”;

e) Disciplinary policies for students who violate rules;

f) Child abuse prevention policies and training;

g) Prior instances of violence at the school


Cases involving injuries to children are always emotionally charged. In taking on such cases, while it might seem intuitive that a child would not have been injured if the school district and its employees were doing their jobs, in order to prevail you must be able to point to specific conduct, or failures on the part of the district and its employees that either caused or contributed to the incident.

Rahman Law PC provides free consultations if you have questions.

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[1]Government Code section 830 defines a “dangerous condition” as “a condition of property that creates a substantial… risk of injury when such property or adjacent property is used with due care in a manner in which it is reasonably foreseeable that it will be used.”

[2]Section 835.2(a) sets forth: “[a] public entity had actual notice of a dangerous condition …if it had actual knowledge of the existence of the condition and knew or should have known of its dangerous character. Section 835.2(b) defines constructive notice as such condition which existed for such a period of time which was of such an obvious nature that the public entity should have discovered the condition and its dangerous condition. Admissible evidence on the issue of constructive notice includes whether the condition would have been discovered by a reasonably adequate inspection system to inform the public entity whether the property was safe for its use . (See, Cal. Gov. Code section 835.2.)

Sustainable Bamboo Bicycles for Impoverished Countries

Worldbike is an organization dedicated to “designing innovative bicycle prototypes to advance development in poor countries.” Their programs have been implemented on a small scale in Cuba, Mexico, Rwanda, Senegal and Thailand. Their website presents a background into these programs:

An estimated 1.2 billion people live in rural poverty cut off from markets, schools and clinics. With such an immense global need for sustainable transport, there’s no shortage of opportunities for bicycles to make a big difference in the lives of the rural poor.

Helping them in their mission are a lot of other innovative bike organizations. For one, the Bamboo Bike Project, a project funded by Columbia University’s Earth Institute, is aimed at establishing bamboo cargo bike manufacturers in Africa.
And just three days ago, the BBP along with the Millennium Cities Initiative and the Ghana-based Bamboo Bike Limited launched their bike training program in Ghana. This is the first step towards the “the creation of the first large-scale bamboo bike production factory in the world, with ambitions of producing up to 20,000 affordable bikes a year to serve the transportation needs of the rural poor in Ghana” (source).
The Bay Bikers Blog is optimistic that the BBP will succeed in their mission, citing the follow reasons:
  • The bikes would be cheap to produce ($50/bike)
  • Bamboo can be strong enough to last longer than metal models currently sold in Africa
  • The frames are sustainable due to bamboo being a common, native plant
  • Industry has a lot of growth potential and can improve citizens’ lives directly.
Many groups like these are trying to accomplish the same for countries all around the world. Check them out if you’re interested in contributing to the cause.

Walk to School Day – October 6th, 2010

The Safe Routes to Schools (SRTS) movement is holding its second year of Walk to School Day this upcoming October 6th.

Walk to School Day is a global, annual event promoting “safe and active walking and bicycling.” And this year, SRTS’ San Francisco chapter increased its participants by 10 schools on top of last year’s 5.
According to the SRTS website, the primary goals of their program is to:
  • Increase bicycle, pedestrian, and traffic safety around schools;
  • Decrease traffic congestion around schools;
  • Reduce childhood obesity by increasing number of children walking and biking to school; and
  • Improve air quality, community safety and security, and community involvement around school

In addition to Walk to School Day, the SRTS is also partnered with San Francisco’s Bike to School Day which is to be held on April 7th, 2011.

Both of these programs were started recently in the bay area (SRTS in 2009 and Bike to School Day in 2008) and will hopefully get the attention of more schools in these upcoming years!
For more information regarding these events and programs, visit:

Ljubljana, Slovenia is the new secret Prague

This great City is certainly the next great place to visit. Slovenia’s literature is a hoot and shamelessly tells the world how it outshines its Balkan neighbors, which could be true. But, how you ask, does this relate to things on two-wheels? Well, much of the youthful energy of Ljubljana comes from the scores of people of all ages out on their bikes in these great big, colored bike lanes. While sitting at the untold number of cafes lining the river, you can watch the young and old on road bikes, mountain bikes, choppers and old school uprights complete with basket and bells (and definitely rockin’ kickstands).

There is truly an amazing cycling culture at work here. It’s like Eden for bikes. Bike racks are plentiful, crime is so low that hardly anyone bothers to even lock up their bikes, there are segregated bike lanes, many on the sidewalks, and traffic controls for bikes. There are also designated high traffic areas where bikes are not allowed which are clearly marked to ward off trouble. The great thing about bikes and peds sharing the sidewalk here is that everyone has their own space and it all works as long as everyone is courteous and watches out for one another. It all seems blissful and, with the exception of the almost universal lack of helmets, safe.

It’s still a secret from most American tourists though…