Saturday, July 30, 2011

Casey's Feldman's Legacy Energizes the Grass Roots Movement For Pedestrian Safety

On July 17, 2009 21 Year Old Casey Feldman was walking to her job at an Ocean City restaurant when she was struck and killed by the driver of a van at the intersection of 14th and Central. According to the Springfield (PA) Patch - The distracted driver was reportedly reaching for a cup of iced tea in the passenger side of the vehicle.

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In response to this preventable tragedy Casey's parents and friends established The Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation which funds causes that were dear to Casey as well as educating the public about pedestrian safety and the dangers of distracted driving. On July 23rd the Foundation partnered with the Street Safe Driving Academy and the Ocean City Police Department Traffic Safety Unit for a hands on educational program about distracted driving Ocean City, N. J. The event included a driving simulator and asked people to sign a pledge saying that they will not drive distracted. You can read more about the event in the Springfield Patch article and this video from NBC 40 News.

Another event is planned in September. Let's hope for more events like these enlighten the ill informed who have a disdain for New Jersey's stop for pedestrians law. Perhaps every critic should obligated to watch the video below.

Casey's story is featured in the Faces of Distracted Driving series

Friday, July 22, 2011

2nd Annual Tour de Long Valley presented by the David Hammar Foundation

I normally don't post about charity rides on WalkBikeJersey but this is a true exception that all New Jersey cyclists should come out to support.  On Sunday, July 31st the David D. Hammar Foundation will be hosting 2nd Annual Tour de Long Valley to support the Long Valley First Aid Squad.

The mission of the David D. Hammar Foundation is to "promote and enhance bicycle safety by providing resources to children, educating the public and supporting activities that raise awareness to cyclists and drivers alike."  The foundation was organized after the fatal crash that took David Hammar's life while he was on a recreational ride in the Long Valley area.  His death was an unspeakable tragedy, made all the more sad as it happened in what is by far one of the most beautiful rural places in New Jersey.

I highly recommend this ride as the cycling in the Long Valley area is very challenging and spectacularly beautiful.  And it's a great cause to boot!  You can't beat that!

Both routes are can be seen by following this link and go counterclockwise.  The 40 miles route has some truly challenging climbs along with great views (I know from first hand experience) and with nearly 1,900 feet of total climbing, will be a great training ride for those of you looking to do the Gran Fondo New Jersey a month later like me (more on that in a later post).

When you are there, also look for the East Coast Greenway Alliance / New Jersey Bike and Walk Coalition booth.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

WalkScore Rates 61 NJ Municipalities has released the 2011 list of most walkable cities among the fifty largest cities, New York City has the highest walk score of 85 and Philadelphia was fifth with a walkscore of 74.

Walkscore also looked at the 61 largest municipalities in NJ. Congratulations Hoboken and Union City you both have a walkscore 92. Sorry Tinton Falls your walk score is only 25.

Walkscore only looks at the ideal walkability of a place, conditions such as missing sidewalks, and barriers to travel are not considered. NJ Transit data is not registered with Walkscore so places near train and bus stations do not score any higher than places that don't

Monday, July 18, 2011

Achor House bicyclist killed in Clinton Township crash

The Express-Times of Easton, PA reported the tragic death this weekend of Doug McCune as he rode as part of the Anchor House Ride for Runaways on Payne Road near Rt 31 in Clinton Township (1, 2).  At around 9am on Saturday mourning Mr. McCune reportedly crashed into the back of a stopped vehicle.  He was taken to Hunterdon Medical Center and was pronounced dead.  Mr. McCune's death is being called "a tragic accident."

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This is the second deadly crash in the 33 year history of the Anchor House Ride for Runaways which is considered New Jersey's and one of the East Coast's premier charity bicycle rides.  Unfortunately both of these deaths occurred in New Jersey on the last day of the ride.  In 1998 a 15-year-old Mercer County boy, was fatally struck by a car during the last leg of the fundraiser.  The Ride for Runaways is an annual, 7 day, 500 mile charity bicycle ride that exists to support Anchor House, a shelter for runaway and/or abused teenagers located in Trenton, NJ.

We at WalkBikeJersey extend our condolences to Doug McCune's family.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Federal bicycle and pedestrian funding in danger!

The message below comes from our allies at the League of American Bicyclists.  Our readers should note that New Jersey policy makers have long seen the value in providing bicycle and pedestrian project funding but the loss of federal monies would still be a major blow to the efforts of creating safer streets for those that walk or bike in New Jersey.

Lawmakers threaten to end Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to School and Rec Trails Programs.
Contact your Senators and Representative today!
Key Congressional leaders are attacking Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to School, and Recreational trails and are taking steps to cut off dedicated federal funding for bicycling and walking.

House Transportation Chairman John Mica (R-FL) announced today that his transportation bill will eliminate dedicated funding for bicycling and walking, including Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to School and the Recreational Trails Program, and discourages states from choosing to spend their dollars on these activities that are “not in the federal interest.”  Chairman Mica’s statement that these programs remain “eligible” for funding is worthless; without dedicated funding for these three programs, they are effectively eliminated.

Things on the Senate side are not much better. Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), the lead Republican negotiator on the transportation bill, declared that one of his TOP THREE priorities for the transportation bill is to eliminate ‘frivolous spending for bike trails.’  This is in direct conflict with Senator Barbara Boxer’s (D-CA) commitment to maintain dedicated funding for biking and walking.  However, the Senate is working towards a bi-partisan solution, and Senator Inhofe’s comments mean funding for bicycle and pedestrian programs is at risk of total elimination.

Help protect Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to School and Recreational Trails. Contact your Members of Congress and tell them to reach out to Senators Inhofe, Boxer, and Congressman Mica to urge them to continue funding for these important bicycling and walking programs.

Need some good facts to bolster your argument?  Read on:

Monday, July 04, 2011

Op-Ed: "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness"

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
This July 4th, our Nation will celibate these greatest of Thomas Jefferson's words.  They are the cornerstone of our freedoms and were the thrust of our fledgling Nation's Declaration of Independence ratified 235 years ago today.  I think that it goes without question that all Americans will agree that nothing is more American than Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.  These "inalienable Rights" that all "are endowed by their Creator" cannot not be infringed upon no matter what peaceful and legal endeavor one so chooses.

However as someone who regularly walks and rides a bike, I cannot help but wonder if these rights, do not apply to me when I travel using these modes.  As a free American, I hereby declare that I demand the return of my rights of "Life Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" no matter what legal form of travel I so choose.

Life - I demand the right to walk or ride my bicycle on the public right-of-way free of the real fear that my life is in imminent danger due to:
  • roadway engineering that continues to ignore the practical needs of bicyclists and pedestrians.
  • the poor driving skills of the operators of motor vehicles and the government agencies that continue to allow these incompetent persons to legally operate said motor vehicles with impunity.
  • laws, police and a legal system that regularly ignore the rights and the sanctity of life of bicyclists and pedestrians, even when a bicyclist or pedestrian is killed or injured due to the carelessness or even wanton recklessness of a driver of a motor vehicle.
Liberty -
  • I demand the liberty to walk or ride my bicycle from anywhere to anywhere, within reason, by a route using the public right-of-ways that is safe, convenient, relatively direct and that is at least of equal distance to that which the driver of motor vehicle may travel.
  • I demand that the government agencies that are charged with developing and maintaining the public streets and roadways, build said streets and roadways with proper contemporary bicycle and pedestrian facilities that encourages the liberty of movement of those not driving a motor vehicle.
  • I demand that no other person, law enforcement or other government official question this right of liberty no mater the location of were one is legally traveling on the public right-of-way, or the time of day or night that one chooses to travel on the public right-of-way.

Pursuit of Happiness -
  • For those of us that choose to walk or bike for recreation and/or transportation, these activities are often for us, "the pursuit of Happiness."  For myself, few of the good things in life are more fulfilling and full of joy than a long and challenging bicycle ride on the public roads that pass through the beautiful New Jersey countryside.  Unfortunately, rarely does a ride go by where a stressful incident does not occur due to one or more of the reasons already listed above.  As such I demand that not only our government but our fellow citizens do all that is reasonable to preserve this right.  In return, I swear to do all in my power to defend this right for my fellow Americans as long as their pursuits are peaceful and do not have other detrimental effects upon our society.

Enjoy your Fourth of July but remember that the continued enjoyment of these three most basic American rights will only be preserve so long as citizens of this Great Nation continue to remain vigilant.