Bicycling

Long, hard road – city bike commission recommends sharrows and bike lanes

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News The city’s Bicycle Safety Commission peddled a report Monday evening that may result in more bike sharrows being imprinted onto pavement, and bike lanes being added to some streets. After years of the community spinning wheels, Steve Langendorfer and his commission met with City Council’s Transportation and Safety Committee to present infrastructure that could make bicyclists more comfortable and more likely to use city streets. The city has already worked with Yay Bikes, an education program helping bicyclists learn their responsibilities and their rights on roadways. Education is the least expensive step to encourage bicycling in Bowling Green. “Bike riders are as entitled to the road as cars,” Langendorfer said. However, education only goes so far – and reasonably priced and rationally prioritized infrastructure may be the next step. Langendorfer presented the council committee with lists of city streets where sharrows would be helpful for bicyclists. Sharrows, the icons that look like bikes and arrows, have already been applied to portions of Fairview and Conneaut avenues. They are a much less expensive solution than actual bike lanes. With fiscal and physical limitations in mind, the Bicycle Safety Commission recommended adding sharrows to the following north-south streets in the city: North and South Wintergarden Road, from Poe to Sand Ridge.North and South Maple Street, from Conneaut to Sand Ridge.Fairview Avenue, north of Poe (south of Poe already has sharrows.)North and South Grove Street, from Poe to Sand Ridge.North and South Church Street, from Clay to Sand Ridge, and Kenwood Avenue, from Sand Ridge to Napoleon.North and South Prospect Street, and/or North and South Enterprise, from Poe to Lehman.Thurstin Avenue, from Poe to East Wooster, and Manville Avenue, from East Wooster to East Napoleon.North College Avenue, south of Poe Road, and South College Avenue, from Main to Napoleon. Sharrows were also recommended for the following east-west city streets: West and East Newton Road, from Community Center to North College Avenue.Frazee Avenue, west of North College.East Merry Avenue, from Thurstin to Mercer Road.Clay and East Ridge, from Main to Mercer.West Wooster Street from Wintergarden to Haskins…


County park district hits bullseye with archery range

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The latest park hit the bullseye for archers in the Wood County area. On Tuesday, the Wood County Park District held its monthly meeting at the new Arrowwood Archery Park, located on Linwood Road, southeast of Bowling Green. The park adds archery to the activity list of canoeing, biking, fishing, hiking, hunting, kayaking and rock climbing offered by the park district. “It shows the diversity of the Wood County Park District and the diversity of the staff,” said Denny Parish, chairman of the park board. Parish said he is proud of citizen support and staff making the variety of activities possible. Park district Executive Director Neil Munger agreed. “The idea for this archery range actually came from public input,” Munger said. (A grand opening will be held Sunday.) After the meeting, park board members were given a chance to try their skills at the new archery range. Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the park board got its annual visit from former park board member and current park patron Frank McLaughlin about the need for more bike accommodations by the county park district. McLaughlin said he was out on the Slippery Elm Trail again this past weekend. He said he can’t imagine any park in the county getting more use. “It’s like a freeway out there on Saturdays and Sundays,” he said. While the trail from Bowling Green to North Baltimore is great, more would be nice. “We could certainly use something from Bowling Green to Perrysburg,” McLaughlin said. Munger mentioned that as a member of the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments bicycle committee, the park district has learned of possible plans to use Hull Prairie Road to connect Bowling Green and Perrysburg. McLaughlin noted the narrow nature of Hull Prairie. Wood County is also falling behind on connecting the Chessie Circle and North Coast trails, he said. A bike trail already stretches from Lorain to eastern Wood County, then picks up again in Lucas County heading west to Archbold. McLaughlin mentioned the park district owns land that could be used for a…


Rick Busselle: Cooperation between drivers & bikes in BG is “mostly illusion”

I appreciate the public efforts of Bowling Green drivers and bicyclists to cooperate.  But from my perspective it’s mostly illusion.  I ride my bicycle several days a week.  Most days at least one person passes within six or eight inches of my handlebar.  Not infrequently someone passes while ignoring oncoming traffic, leaving me plenty of room, but forcing an oncoming car to yield their own lane by slowing abruptly, veering to the far right, or, in one case, driving into a yard.  Admittedly, most drivers accommodate a bike in their lane.  But many don’t.  I estimate about 20-percent.  This morning a driver veered left of center to pass me and ran an oncoming car into the curb.  When we both stopped, I said to the driver, “I appreciate your giving me the space, but you have to watch for the oncoming cars too.”  Clearly this was my mistake as their response was “the old familiar suggestion.” My observation is that when bicyclists, citizens and elected officials speak publicly, everyone is very pleasant and supportive.  Just like when bicycles ride in organized groups with signs and tee shirts, drivers politely honk and wave.  But when no one is watching there is a significant group of drivers who have little regard for anyone but themselves. I apologize to the person I spoke to this morning.  From now on, I’ll keep my thought to myself, even when my thought is “the old familiar suggestion.” Rick Busselle Bowling Green


Ride of Silence speaks volumes about bike safety

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green bicyclists hope to speak volumes with a Ride of Silence next week. Since 2003, cyclists around the world have been holding the annual Ride of Silence to honor those who have been injured or killed while cycling and to make people aware that cyclists are part of the roadway. This event is held worldwide on the same day, same time during Bike Safety Month. The cyclists ride slowly and in silence. This year in Ohio, 11 communities are participating, and for the first time, Bowling Green is joining in the ride. “There could never be enough awareness of bicycle safety,” said Linda Kidd, a member of the Bowling Green Bicycle Safety Commission and organizer of the ride in the city. “This is a world-wide event and we couldn’t be happier to bring awareness to bicycle safety and honor those who have lost their lives in bicycling accidents.” The Bowling Green Ride of Silence will be held on Wednesday, May 17, starting and ending at City Park. Bicyclists are asked to arrive at 6:30 p.m., and be ready for the ride to start at 7 p.m. The ride will cover 8.3 miles and travel at a slow pace, escorted by the Bowling Green Police Division and the Bowling Green State University Police Department. Riders will pause at First United Methodist Church on East Wooster Street, in memory of Eric Ramlow, who was killed in 2016 while riding on Sand Ridge Road. Ramlow was an active member of the church. Prior to the start of the ride, those participating will also remember and honor others killed while bicycling, including Tom Santoro, Sierah Joughin, Douglas Kania, Matthew Billings, James Lambert, Emilee Gagnon, Harvey Bell III, Andy Gast, Jimmy Hughey and Jeff Roth. The ride is supported by We Are Traffic, Maumee Valley Adventurers, Bowling Green Bicycle Safety Commission, Toledo Area Bicyclists and Bike 4 A Better BG. Helmets are required. This event is free and open to the public, with no registration necessary. Because the ride is slow and law enforcement holds back traffic at intersections, it…


Nominations sought for Bicycle Spokesperson of Year

The Bowling Green Bicycle Safety Commission is sponsoring the 17th annual Bicycle Spokesperson of the Year award. Nomination forms for this annual award are now available at the City Administration Building, Community Center, Simpson Building and the Bicycle Safety Commission’s webpage. Any Bowling Green citizen can be nominated who exemplifies the spirit of bicycling through involvement in biking, bike safety or bike-related activities. Nominations must be submitted by Monday, May 1. For questions or more information call the Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Department at (419) 354-6225.


BG completes first ‘Complete Streets’ efforts

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green City Council members admitted the city may have qualified for a slow-moving vehicle placard in its progress on Complete Streets. But when council took action Monday evening, some acknowledged the wait paid off. In an effort to make city streets more accommodating to bicyclists, council had debated several options – many of them expensive. On Monday, the city’s Transportation and Safety Committee and then City Council agreed on how to proceed with its first two streets as part of the Complete Streets program. Conneaut and Fairview will be milled and resurfaced at an estimated cost of $529,393. That was the easy part since it was work that already needed done. Then came the choices of how to make them more accessible to two-wheeled travelers. The option of widening Conneaut and making dash lanes for bicyclists the entire length of the street came with a price tag of $65,000. The option of creating a bike lane on Fairview fell out of favor early on because of logistical problems with neighbors and the golf course. So on Monday, the decision was made to forgo the widening of Conneaut and use sharrows (street markings shaped like bikes and arrows) from Grove to Lafayette streets to remind motorists of the need to share the road. And on Fairview, the decision was made to widen the sidewalk on the east side of the street, then have a crossover to the west side from Liberty to Grove streets. The $32,000 improvements would be ADA compliant. “This will serve as a template for how we treat other streets,” said council president Michael Aspacher, acknowledging that the approval has been a long time coming. “I think it’s exciting that we are doing something.” Council member Bob McOmber said he was glad the Fairview sidewalks, which are in poor condition, are being replaced. Scott Seeliger said he was relieved that the sidewalks could be widened to ADA standards without encroaching further into residential front lawns. And Bruce Jeffers said he was glad the city didn’t act hastily on bike…


Bike tour of BG opens eyes to some solutions

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Maybe Bowling Green doesn’t need to spend thousands of dollars on a scattered patchwork of bike lanes to make city streets more friendly to cyclists. Maybe the four-wheeled and the two-wheeled motorists just need to learn how to co-exist on the roads. On Monday, two groups of city leaders took bike tours of the community. They rode quiet residential streets like Eberly, and busy four-lane streets like Main Street. “No one ever honked at us,” said Catherine Givres, an educator with YaY Bikes, whose mission is to get “more butts on more bikes, more often.” The ride was an eye-opening experience for several of the bicyclists. “I’ve cycled for over 60 years, in multiple countries,” said Steve Langendorfer, president of the city’s Bicycle Safety Commission. “I bike thousands of miles every year.” During those years, he has consistently hugged the edge of the road – trying to be courteous to motorists and trying to take the safest spot on the road. But on Monday, Langendorfer and the others rode a few feet into the road, about where the passenger tire of a car would travel. “It was fascinating,” he said. Cars did not whiz by just a few feet from the bicyclists. When the ongoing lane was clear, the cars swung wide around to pass. That’s one of the keys, said Givres. Bicyclists should not think of themselves as in the way of traffic. “You are traffic,” she said. “It is not rude to take up space on the road.” Ohio law considers bikes as “street legal vehicles.” They have the right to take up space on the road – and the responsibility to follow the same rules as motorized vehicles. They are allowed to ride two abreast on the road, and are permitted on any roads except highways. “They are not impeding traffic. They are traffic,” Givres said. In addition to bicyclists needing to learn their rights, they also need to make sure they follow the rules. That includes using turn signals and coming to a complete stop at stop sign…


Community ride promotes need for improvements for bicyclists

  By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Thursday’s community bike ride is more than a pedal to the park. The organizers have some serious points to make about the need to make Bowling Green a better place for bicycling.               The second Community Ride will begin Thursday at 5 p.m. at the fountain in front of the Administration Building on the Bowling Green State University campus.  The riders will head west toward downtown, traveling eventually to Main Street, before reaching their destination, the green space at the corner of Church and West Wooster streets. The first ride came after Lily Murnen, president of the Environmental Service Club, was talking to Rick Busselle, a BGSU faculty member and bicyclist. Busselle was upset by a couple incidents. A student was struck while bicycling near the CVS on East Wooster Street, and then was ticketed for riding on the sidewalk. Busselle himself took a spill while trying to navigate past that spot. His accident occurred in part because he was unsure at what point cyclists were allowed to ride on sidewalks. The city lacks both clarity in the rules governing bicyclists and the bike lanes needed to make riding in the city safer, he said. Yet, the city officials didn’t really seem to think it was a problem. He and Murnen discussed a mass bike riding event. These can involve a large group of bicyclists taking over the streets and, at times, violating traffic laws. Instead they decided that it would be best to have the bicyclists adhere to the rules of the road, which in some instances may cause a greater inconvenience to drivers. People, Murnen said, feel safer navigating the city’s streets in groups. Murnen was in charge of putting together a list of events for Earth Week, so she decided a community ride would fit right in. The first ride attracted 25 riders, despite a change in the day of the ride. Murnen said the ride attracted “a really nice mix” of students, faculty and community members. The 25-minute ride went west on Wooster,…