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 bike trail in the Perrysburg Township area. “It would be nice to see that happen,” he said. “This is the one missing piece,” he said of the east-west bike trail across northern Ohio. Munger said the park district is trying to use a regional approach on bike trails, and will continue to look for grant funding for such projects. The board also agreed to increase park shelter house rental rates to $40 per day. Munger said the rates had been $25 for the last 27 years or so. Other area shelter house rental rates are $30 to $80 for four hours. The park district rentals are all for full days. “It’s still a bargain,” board member Tom Myers said of the new $40 rate. “All of our shelters have electric, so if you bring a crockpot for a reunion,” there’s plenty of power, Munger said. “We’ve got some really good facilities.” In other business at Tuesday’s meeting: Munger mentioned the unexpected death of former park ranger Doug Carr. Board member Bill Cameron asked the district to consider some effort to remember Carr. Park police responded to board member Sandy Wiechman that the number has dropped of the people trespassing from…

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 is a safe ride for families and children. In previous years, more than 200 people have ridden together in Toledo. That group makes stops in Ottawa Hills and at Toledo Hospital to remember local citizens who have been killed. Ghost bikes may be part of the ride: bicycles painted white and parked on the route where they remind riders and drivers to be careful. The first Ride of Silence was organized in 2003 by Chris Phelan in Dallas after endurance cyclist Larry Schwartz was hit by the mirror of a passing bus and was killed. In addition to remembering those injured or killed, the rides are also intended to raise the awareness of motorists, police and city officials that cyclists have a legal right to the public roadways. Bowling Green’s ride will start at City Park, turn right onto Conneaut Avenue, right onto Haskins Road, and right onto Poe Road. It will then continue right onto Mercer Road, left on Alumni Drive, then straight onto Campbell Hill Road, and right on Clough Street, where bicyclists will turn into the parking lot at First United Methodist Church to remember Ramlow. Then cyclists will continue on Clough Street, turn right on Mercer…

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 accommodations that can be quite costly when other options may work just as well. Many of the council members referred to the Yay Bikes program, which city officials participated in last November. The program promotes education as well as physical accommodations to make communities safer for bicycling. The program teaches bicyclists to “own the lane,” by riding not along the edge but rather where the passenger tire runs. Motorists learn to swing wide and give bicyclists room. Council member Sandy Rowland said she believes consistency is important. “I think it’s just going to set us up to confuse lots of people,” if the city were to go with dashed bike lanes in some places and sharrows in others. Council member John Zanfardino said he was also open to sharrows rather than the expensive widening for a dashed lane on Conneaut. “I’m certainly not going to say I’m against bike lanes,” Zanfardino said. But he did endorse the Yay Bikes concept as “safe, doable and realistic.” “I’m drawn to the sharrows and the Yay Bikes approach,” he said. City Engineer Jason Sisco said the sharrows, placed every 250 feet of so, act as a “constant reminder to vehicles.” He estimated the…

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 – not just coasting through. However, Givres said two-wheel travelers don’t break the rules any more than their four-wheel neighbors on the road. “Cyclists break traffic laws at slightly lower levels than motorists,” she said. But cyclists should realize that their behavior needs to be predictable for the faster moving motorists. That is another reason for bicyclists to not hug the edge of the road, where they often have to swerve into the lane to avoid hazards like debris, grates and potholes. “Your intentions to be polite unintentionally create more chaos on the road,” Givres said. Drivers don’t want to hit bikers, she stressed. “Even people who are openly disdainful of bikers. They don’t want to have to get bodywork on their car.” Ohio law allows motorists to pass over the double yellow line if a bicyclist is going less than half the speed limit. “Most cyclists are not trying to impede car traffic. And most cars are not trying to scare cyclists,” Givres said. Streets are far safer for bicyclists than sidewalks, she added. Cyclists are two to four times more likely to get hit by a car on a sidewalk, since they often don’t stop at every driveway….

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, turned right onto North Grove, left on Conneaut, right onto Fairview, right onto West Merry, right onto North Main Street and then proceeded to the Four Corners, where the group took a right onto Wooster and then a left on South Grove and the green space. The route, Murnen said, was designed to minimize left turns, but also to travel through populated areas and downtown to get some visibility. The response the riders received from people along the route, she said, was positive. Thursday’s route will be similar, maybe with another loop added, she said. She and Busselle would like to keep the rides going. Murnen who will be in town until July said she’d like to see others step up to organize it. It could be done by a group, she said. She like the riders to sit down with Bowling Green Bicycle Safety Commission to hash out ideas. Busselle said he hopes the rides bring attention to the city’s need for bicycle lanes and streets that are safe for bicycles, cars and pedestrians. “The goal is bike lanes.” More also needs to be done to improve bicycle safety in the area around the high school and middle school,…