City will build a few blocks of very needed Pike/Pine bike lanes this weekend

SDOT crews will install five blocks of protected bike lanes on Pike and Pine Streets downtown this weekend, making a vital connection to the under-construction 2nd Ave bike lane in the heart of the downtown retail core.

If the weather holds out and work goes smoothly, the bike lanes should be open Monday. Once completed, the bike lanes will be the most significant bike improvement downtown since 2014, when the initial section of the 2nd Ave bike lanes opened.

Since it is a significant change in a busy area, volunteers from Cascade Bicycle Club and Seattle Neighborhood Greenways will be on the ground during the morning and afternoon commutes to help educate folks about the changes. If you want to help (especially for the afternoon shift), sign up online. (Full Disclosure: My wonderful spouse Kelli is one of the organizers.)

As we reported last month, the plans fall just short of making a complete connection either to Capitol Hill or to South Lake Union via 8th Ave. At least for a while, there will be a gap after 6th Ave on Pike Street where the bike lane disappears. Heading west on Pine, people will also need to shift from the right side of Pine Street to the new left-hand bike lane at 8th Ave, which could be confusing and disjointed.

Several readers were upset after reading my August post because they felt I was praising SDOT too much for a project that actually falls short. While it is certainly frustrating that this project will not actually connect to any other bike lanes, don’t overlook how big a deal even this short stretch is. I believe you can simultaneously be disappointed by a project’s shortcomings and excited about the parts that are included.

I mean, just look at this new connection to Westlake Station. A protected bike lane will pass in front of the entrance, and the area left of the bike lane is planned as future TBD people-focused space (See also: Pike Pine Renaissance). This is genuinely awesome and exactly what the space outside this popular transit station needs:

Continue reading

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Man charged with killing father biking in Northgate had also killed woman walking in Marysville

Derek Blaylock was biking home from the bus stop on his way back from work when Kevin Brewer, 51, allegedly struck him with his pick-up truck and drove away from the scene. Blaylock died within an hour. He was 50 years old with a wife and two young children.

Our deepest condolences to his family and all his friends.

“On Tuesday morning, September 21, 2016, [50-year-old] Derek Blaylock dropped his son off at elementary school, parked his car, and rode his bicycle to the bus. He would never see his son again,” the King County Prosecutor wrote in the charging documents. He would be killed while biking on his way back that afternoon.

Blaylock would be the second person Brewer has allegedly killed while driving. He killed Nicole Cheek, a 58-year-old grandmother who was walking in Marysville in 2008, the Herald reported at the time. Brewer also left the scene in 2008, leaving Cheek for dead. Her body was not discovered for more than an hour. Brewer eventually came forward and pleaded guilty to felony hit and run. He said he fell asleep while driving and thought he had hit a mailbox. He was sentenced to three and a half years in prison and was released in December 2011, the Seattle Times reports.

Despite his time in prison, investigators found that “[b]etween 2007 and 2016, Brewer was responsible for at least 10 collisions in which the driving behavior was consistent with that of a driver impaired by alcohol or drugs, or by a fatigued/drowsy driver.” Brewer has sleep apnea, and friends told investigators that “he appears to doze off periodically,” according to the charging documents.

“He is well aware that he is at grave risk for falling asleep while driving,” the Prosecutor noted. Continue reading

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Bike share ridership is booming + Spin launches better bike, Forbes says LimeBike valued at $200M

Free-floating bike share is working in Seattle. Or at least it sure appears that way according to the city’s first analysis of anonymized private bike share data.

In just two months, people have already taken 120,000 trips on the bikes. And because companies are steadily increasing the number of bikes on the streets, the number of rides each day continues to grow at a steep rate. 6,000 bikes are currently permitted, but SDOT’s Kyle Rowe told the Committee that he estimates the actual number on the ground now is closer to 4,000 and increasingly daily.

In fact, as bike share companies add bikes to Seattle streets, the number of rides per bike per day has increased, as well. This is a big deal, since the business model for free-floating bike share is essentially dependent on this virtuous cycle in which adding more bikes leads to each bike carrying more trips and making more money.

This is good for Seattle, since it gives companies a clear incentive to keep adding more service to the city. And, of course, it’s a good thing for the companies who need to make money to stay in operation and keep expanding. At what point will adding more bikes fail to further increase ridership? Nobody knows. But we likely have a long way to go before we reach that saturation point.

SDOT officials presented (PDF, video) the City Council’s Transportation and Sustainability Committee with a first look at two months of bike share activity in the city, based on data companies are required to report as a condition of the permit. The data adds LimeBike, Spin and ofo information together to look at the sector in general without exposing individual company operations.

The graphs they showed were astounding. Here’s the growth in rides per day: Continue reading

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Seattle startup crowdfunding bike-focused vending machines

Rider Oasis has one machine in operation inside Peddler Brewing.

Seattle Bike Blog loves all our city’s local bike shops. But they all have one problem in common: They aren’t open 24/7.

And of course they aren’t. But what if you need a new tube for your morning commute? Or what if you get a flat in an area without a nearby bike shop? Or what if you’re just plain bonking in the middle of a long ride?

That’s where Rider Oasis comes in. The young company has plans to launch dozens of public-facing vending machines in the Seattle area stocked with bike-fixing necessities and pick-me-up snacks to keep people moving.

“Our goal is to have between 30 and 50 machines over the next two to five years,” said CEO and Co-Founder Aaron Mass. “We think there’s that much capacity within Seattle.”

Though Seattle is the first focus, “eventually the plan is to expand along the entire West Coast.”

The company has had one machine in operation inside Peddler Brewing for a while now, but the primary goal of the business is to have machines in locations accessible 24/7.

Bike part vending machines are not new in the world or even the U.S. Bikestock operates out of New York City and Bike Fixation has machines in Minneapolis. But the idea has not yet reached the West Coast in a big way, Mass said.

The company, which started as a UW business school project, has launched an indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to get off the ground: Continue reading

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New downtown vision includes 4th Ave bike lanes, new transit pathway on 6th Ave

Map presented to the One Center City Advisory Group.

After months of talks, agency leaders have a near-term plan for downtown streets that both builds a two-way protected bike lane on 4th Ave and creates a transit pathway to keep buses moving once they are kicked out of the transit tunnel next year.

The plan as presented to the Once Center City Advisory Group (PDF) would improve transit travel times for buses even after building a new protected bike lane on 4th Ave. This looks like a promising resolution to one of the biggest sticking points in the downtown transportation remake effort. And instead of pitting transit against biking, the new effort looks at how prioritizing both could lead to big increases in downtown street capacity.

When all the planned near-term changes are complete (including complete Pike/Pine bike lanes from 2nd to Broadway, bike lanes on 7th and 8th Avenues, a connection to Dearborn in the south end and the under-construction 2nd Ave bike lane extension in Belltown), analysis predicts a nearly 160 percent increase in daily bike trips downtown by 2023. This includes an estimated 25,000 bike share trips as both bike lane and shared bike networks grow.

Continue reading

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Friday is Park(ing) Day + Map of your local one-day mini parks – UPDATED

UPDATE: You can follow my adventures to parks around town below.

Park(ing) Day 2017 is tomorrow (Friday). For one day, neighborhoods across the city will have new mini parks, constructed and activated by neighbors.

It’s a day dedicated to new ideas for how public space can be used. And it’s a day to highlight just how much valuable space we are dedicating to the storage of cars. When public space is available to our creativity, people do amazing things.

The day goes from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. There are 47 parks planned, so be sure to give yourself some extra time to visit a few. Or, you know, tomorrow could be a good day to *cough, cough* call in sick.

I probably don’t need to tell you, but your bicycle is the best way to tour as many parks as you can see. It could also be a great chance to try out mixing transit and bike share (that’s my plan).

You can see the city’s map of 2017 parks below. For an idea of what to expect, check out our coverage from previous years. Continue reading

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2nd Ave bike lane extension will open southbound in early October, northbound a couple weeks later – UPDATED

The 2nd Ave bike lane will reach Denny Way next month.

Work on the street has been ongoing for quite a while as the city prepared it for bike lanes and other improvements for all modes, such as badly needed signals at several Belltown cross streets.

But now work on the two-way bike lane itself is ready to begin. Like the existing section of the bike lane, which opened three years ago, both directions will be on the east side of the street. Intersections will have separate signals for people biking and people making turns.

Crews will begin work Monday that will last two weeks, wrapping up October 2 (if all goes smoothly, of course). For the first couple weeks, the bike lane will be southbound-only as crews work on the new and upgraded traffic signals needed to activate the northbound direction. That work is scheduled for completion in October, according to SDOT spokesperson Mafara Hobson.

UPDATE 9/19: SDOT now says the opening will move more slowly, with full completion in November and December: ” To clarify, we’re working on sections at a time, so if all goes well, the 2nd Ave protected bike lane will have a soft opening to southbound bikes between Pike and Virginia in October. The contractor will still close the bike lane intermittently to get the pavement markings and signals in. Because northbound is a new movement, the signals must be in place and functional before it can be opened. We just got word that the signal pole order is being held up because of Hurricane Harvey, so the northbound direction (again between Pike and Virginia) will most likely open in November. The rest of the extension to Denny will open in increments over the following month. We’ll be in touch as all these moving pieces come together.”

This project will revolutionize bike travel in the city. You will be able to bike from the Smith Tower to the Space Needle almost entirely on a protected bike lane. For the first time, people will have a comfortable northbound bike route through Belltown.

And the city will get rid of a sorely inadequate, skinny, paint-only, left-side, door zone bike lane in the process (good riddance).

It’s hard to be too excited for this project. This is a really big deal for Belltown, Uptown, Seattle Center, Queen Anne and major bike routes headed to the Fremont Bridge, the Elliott Bay Trail and beyond.

Construction projects add up

Unfortunately, people who use 2nd Ave north of Pike Street today will face a couple weeks of mixed traffic construction detours. With construction on 7th Ave also closing that bike lane, this means there will not be a single fully open bike lane between Denny Way and Pike Street from Elliott Bay to I-5. While people who bike through Denny Triangle and Belltown regularly are already used to inadequate construction detours, I think it’s important to zoom out and realize just how thoroughly construction has blocked major bike routes that connect huge swaths of the city. Though city staff are sure to have an excuse for every single closure, the cumulative effect is that we’re closing bike lanes faster than we’re opening them. And now we’ve reached the logical conclusion of that trend: Two weeks of total bike route failure.

At least this construction project is working to fix part of the problem.  Continue reading

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31 bikes stolen from Tacoma Major Taylor Project school + How you can help

Major Taylor Project riders during the 2017 Emerald Bike Ride.

A thief (or thieves) broke into Tacoma’s iDEA High School Sunday and stole more than 30 bikes belonging to the school’s chapter of Cascade Bicycle Club’s Major Taylor Project.

The bikes were mostly quality road and mountain bikes, so the total value of the loss is likely in the $25,000 range.

Tacoma student Greyson Monaghan-Bergson took the initiative to start raising funds to replace the bikes through a GoFundMe campaign. As of press time, the campaign already raised nearly $1,000. You can also skip over GFM and donate directly through Cascade’s website.

Even if the bikes are eventually recovered or replaced through insurance, the program is growing across the region and can put your donations to good use. As Monaghan-Bergson wrote:

 These bicycles gave students the opportunity to:
* Go on weekly bike rides and explore their communities
* Learn about bicycle safety and maintenance
* Be a mechanism for advocating positive change in the community
* Receive training and leadership skills to assist and participate in bicycling events

I personally love the program because it teaches students how to be ride leaders and lead large groups, as well as teaches them proper riding etiquette and the rules of the road.  The program gives me the chance to ride my bike with several friends who wouldn’t otherwise have an opportunity to ride bikes.  The loss of these bikes is the loss of an important program for our community.

More details from Cascade: Continue reading

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Bellevue considers bike share permits, take their survey today

With thousands of bikes already in operation in Seattle and construction on a second cross-lake bike trail wrapping up in just a couple months, the City of Bellevue is considering its own permits to allow private bike share companies to operate on their streets.

As Seattle’s biggest nearby neighbor, Bellevue is a key launching point for a truly regional bike share system. The 520 Bridge Trail opening this autumn will start a new era for regional bike transportation. Bellevue is also a city with quality express transit, but often slow or incomplete local transit connections. So bike share could be very useful to a lot of people.

The biggest challenge for bike share success is the city’s lack of a connected bike network. The Bellevue City Council in February approved a “rapid implementation” effort to make some of their most-needed bike lane connections in the next couple years. This is a great step forward for the city, and bike share is the perfect way to help more people use the new lanes to get around. But they have a lot of work ahead of them.

Only so many people can bike all the way to their Bellevue jobs or put their bikes on buses. So having $1 bikes around to make short trips around Bellevue makes a lot of sense. I hope all the other major Eastside cities are working on bike share plans, too.

Bellevue has launched an online bike share survey and will host an Eastside Bike Share Vendor Fair at Bellevue City Hall September 27. More details from the City of Bellevue: Continue reading

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City extends 9th Ave protected bike lanes + How can the city fix the Mercer crossing?

Phase II of the 9th Ave bike lane extends the connection two blocks further to Harrison.

We are two blocks closer to a complete connection between downtown and the Westlake Bikeway.

SDOT installed Phase II of their three-phase rollout of protected bike lanes on 9th Ave N in South Lake Union this week. The bike lanes now extend as far south as Harrison Street, where they transition into the existing painted bike lanes that continue (mostly) to Denny Way and up Bell Street to 8th Ave.

Eventually, the lane will connect to a planned bike lane on 7th Ave that will connect to a planned Pine Street bike lane that will connect to 2nd Ave. But the three blocks between Harrison and Denny will continue seeing a ton of construction detours in the next year, so the connection will remain incomplete until the scheduled completion in 2018. The Basic Bike Network is coming together.

9th Ave N used to be a rather sleepy street, making it a decent bike route alternative to Westlake Ave N, which was ruined for cycling when the South Lake Union Streetcar was constructed a decade ago. But as construction has boomed in recent years, the street has become busier and busier. Cars picking up and dropping off are constantly blocking the feeble paint-only bikes lanes. And the crossing at Mercer Street has ceased to function effectively or safely due to a crush load of cars.

The new bike lanes dramatically help with the blocked bike lane problem by placing the bike lane against the curb and creating space for parking and loading between the bike lane and the general travel lanes. And with each new block, the connection to the incredibly popular Westlake Bikeway reaches more homes and workplaces.

Timothy Fliss shot this quick video on day one showing that people immediately adapted to the new lanes: Continue reading

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Don’t expect a bike share surge as caps rise to 2K + Seattle bike share makes international news

See our Seattle Bike Share Guide for an updated FAQ about bike share in Seattle as well as links to download active companies’ apps and a guide to properly parking your bike share bike.

The bike share cap has increased again. As of today, the city’s pilot permit allows companies to operate 2,000 bikes on Seattle streets, double the current level.

But don’t expect an immediate boom in bike numbers. Since launching in July, both Spin and LimeBike have been adding bikes gradually on an ongoing basis. ofo has also been adding bikes gradually since launching in August.

None of the companies have yet announced a surge in new bikes like when they first launched, though all have said they will continue working toward the city’s caps. The effect it that every day, bike share in Seattle gets just a little bit more useful.

In another month, the caps on bike share companies will be lifted entirely. But so far none of the companies seem eager to increase the bikes on the ground too suddenly.

LimeBike won’t be adding new bikes for another week or so, Seattle General Manager Dan Stone said. The company is about a week away from launching their updated bike, which includes a slightly updated look and clearer instructions on how to ride safety and park their bikes correctly:

Photos of the updated on-bike signage from LimeBike.

Continue reading

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Seattle Children’s study: School bike trains increase physical activity (of course)

A huge bike train to Bryant Elementary on Bike-to-School Day 2013. Most are not quite this big.

Organizing a bike train to school is an effective way to significantly increase the amount of daily physical activity every child needs to be healthy, a study out of Seattle Children’s found.

OK, I know that sounds like a no-brainer. And it is. But it’s cool to see that actual figures. The bike train activity alone accounted for 35 percent of participant kids’ daily recommended physical activity. That’s a big head start on the day, and could be one tool to help fight childhood obesity and other health issues related directly to inactivity.

The study group was “fourth–fifth graders from four public schools serving low-income families in Seattle,” according to the paper’s abstract. Bike Works helped by providing bikes and safety education to the kids, and study staff led the trains. The bike trains were in 2014, with analysis in 2015 and 2016. Academic research just takes a long time to get out.

The study was published in the the American Journal of Preventative Medicine. I’ll let the Seattle Children’s press release take it from here: Continue reading

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I’m moving by bike Sunday, and you’re invited

This is how my bed got from White Center to the Central District.

Moving by bike is one of my favorite things to do. It turns a stressful day of trying to cramp stuff into a car or strapping things to the roof into a fun day of riding bikes around town with friends. Many bikes make light work, as they say.

I’ve helped friends (and even Cascade Bicycle Club’s office) move by bike, but I’ve never had a chance to do it myself. By the time I first heard about the idea, my spouse Kelli and I  were already living where we live now. So we have been waiting for this for the better part of a decade.

People with all kinds of bikes are invited! So are your friends. If you have a cargo bike or trailer, that’s obviously very welcome, but even your daily bike with a couple bags or a basket is helpful. Everyone will grab whatever they can carry, then we’ll all ride to our new place together. We’ll have coffee and donuts before the ride, then pizza and beer after.

RSVP via the facebook event it you plan on coming so we can get a rough head count of how many people to expect (you can also get the starting address there). Gather to start loading up 11 a.m. Sunday. We’ll be unloaded and eating pizza in Wallingford in the early afternoon.

The ride will be 4.6 miles from the CD to Wallingford. Most of it will be flat or downhill, but there will be a climb from the University Bridge to 45th St. We will be going pretty slow :-) Continue reading

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Missing the forest for the bicycle helmets

The author breaking the law while making a quick bike share trip on the Burke-Gilman Trail.

This week, the authors of a disputed study promoting bicycle helmet laws with bike share systems penned an op-ed for Crosscut arguing that Seattle’s bike share companies should be forced to provide helmets with their bikes.

Aside from the ick factor of sharing helmets with strangers, the hyper-focus on helmets is dangerous because such a requirement would certainly harm and possible kill bike share business in Seattle. The helmet costs (purchasing, collecting, inspecting, cleaning, and redistributing them) were already a factor in the financial demise of Pronto. We cannot repeat that mistake.

And even the authors’ own research could just as easily be seen to demonstrate the public health and bike safety benefits of bike share systems without helmet use. They just draw a questionable conclusion from their data.

Essentially, a before-and-after study of hospital admissions for bicycle-related injuries in five U.S. that launched bike share systems found that all types of injuries decreased by 28 percent once the bike share systems launched. But head injuries only dropped 14 percent. In fact, their data showed that head injuries dropped more significantly in bike share cities than in control cities.

That sounds like a big step in the right direction to me (and bicycle researcher Kay Teschke). But to authors Fred Rivara and Janessa Graves, the data shows an increase in the proportion of those (fewer) injuries that are head injuries. So they conclude that bike share systems need to require helmets.

They are missing the forest for the trees. By hyper-focusing on helmets, the op-ed authors have failed to balance all the other public health benefits of bike share or the damage to public health that would occur if a helmet requirement shut down or limited bike share company operations.

They have also drawn conclusions without convincing support that bike share helmet use is the reason for the discrepancy in injury rates in their data. Continue reading

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Last day to tell SDOT Rainer Ave needs bike lanes

Phyllis Porter of Rainier Valley Greenways (left) leads community members in a march across the crosswalks holding signs calling for a safer Rainier.

Map of collisions along the study area for Phase II of the Rainier Ave Road Safety Corridor Project.

Rainier Ave needs bike lanes. There’s just no way around it. It’s the flattest and most direct way between Rainier Valley’s biggest business districts and downtown. The neighborhood cannot be truly accessible by bike without Rainier Ave bike lanes.

Today (Thursday) is the final day to complete SDOT’s online open house and survey about plans for the next segment of the Rainier Ave Road Safety Corridor project. If you don’t have time to complete the open house, Cascade Bicycle Club has also created a quick and easy way to email your support.

Unfortunately, as Martin Duke at Seattle Transit Blog points out, the city seems to be pitting transit against bikes with their two options. This is a false dichotomy. We need to prioritize both. It something is going to give, it can’t be bus ridership or street safety. I’m looking at you, on-street car parking.

Both options include on-street parking, and the bike lane option (Alternative 2) actually includes more parking than the bus lane option without bike lanes. Why is car parking mandatory in the city’s plans, but bus and bike lanes are optional? That’s completely backwards. Why not use some of the space for parking in Alternative 2 to instead help speed up buses?

Rainier Ave deserves an Alternative 3 that goes big and bold on safety, walking-friendly business districts and efficient transit.  Continue reading

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Protected bike lanes coming to Pike/Pine a big improvement, but fall just short

From a recent project mailer (PDF)

Pike and Pine Streets downtown are among the biggest missing bike connections downtown, and the city wants to take action to make them safer and more comfortable by the end of the year.

Like with 2nd Ave in 2014, SDOT staff have been moving quickly to get the Pike/Pine bike lanes planned, designed and ready for construction. And even though the planned lanes are far from perfect, they should be a big improvement over the status quo.

For the first time since it was constructed in 2014, the 2nd Ave bike lane will actually connect to another protected bike lane.

Pike and Pine are already heavily used by people biking despite having no bike lanes downtown. The geography of downtown all but requires these streets to be major bike streets because they are the first east-west streets in the northern end of the downtown core that are both relatively flat and do not dead-end into I-5. No street between Pike and Jackson fits this description.

But Pike and Pine don’t just provide a vital east-west role downtown, they are also the best connections between downtown and the city’s densest residential areas on Capitol Hill and First Hill. It’s hard to over-stress how vital safe and connected bike lanes on Pike and Pine are to Seattle’s bikeability. Few bike lane projects in the city could have as big an impact as this.

The 2017 project bites off the most difficult chunks of the Pike/Pine connection, including links to the 2nd Ave bike lane (and Pike Place Market) and through the heart of the downtown retail core. The bike lanes will be on the left-hand side of each one-way street (Pike eastbound, Pine westbound) to keep the right-hand side for bus lanes. Turning conflicts should be eliminated either by new restrictions on motor vehicle left turns or through new bike signals to separate the biking and turning phases.

Work on the new connections is set to begin in September and should come online around the same time as the under-construction 2nd Ave bike lane extension through Belltown to Seattle Center, which should open in the autumn. Some key pieces of the Basic Bike Network are coming together. Continue reading

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The 2017 Your Voice, Your Choice recipient projects

From the very start, the city’s revamped neighborhood parks and street funding process was a victim of its own success. Early outreach generated around 900 projects ideas from community members.

This was a huge increase in participation compared to the previous process, which went through the Neighborhood District Councils. But with only $2 million to go around, very few of those proposed projects could become reality.

In other words, the limited budget all but guaranteed a lot of people would be disappointed.

Well, the list is here (actually, I’m a bit slow to post it). Funds were divided evenly across City Council Districts, and the final projects were narrowed down after rounds of professional study and public voting.

There are some great projects here. And the process was certainly more transparent than the old Neighborhood District Council process, where projects could be approved or killed on the whims of individual District Council members. Continue reading

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Weekend Guide: Star Wars Critical Mass, Urban Ag Tour, bike parades + more!

It goes without saying that you should probably spend your whole weekend on a bike. And hey, now that there are thousands of $1 bikes all over the city, you can’t use your bike’s flat tire as an excuse.

Here’s a quick look at just some of the bikey events happening this weekend. If you know of anything big that I’m missing, be sure to let us know in the comments below. And, of course, anyone can add events for free to Seattle Bike Blog’s Events Calendar.

You can also check out the FREE BIKE calendar for more bike events in the area through September 22. Perhaps this is the time to try your hand at organizing your own bike event.

Friday

Safe Routes to School Bike Rodeo – Brighton Playfield 1–5 p.m. Continue reading

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ofo launches in Seattle, but their goal is ‘unlocking every corner of the world’

In story after story about ofo, writers trained to capitalize company names write “Ofo.” But there’s a reason to type the name in all lowercase letters: The typography looks a bit like someone riding a bike. ofo

This is part of the $2 billion company’s global strategy, a name that transcends language much like the humble bicycles they hope to offer the whole world.

“Our founders from the beginning thought that the bicycle is a global language,” said VP of ofo U.S. Grace Lin, “that bicycles can be a link to connect people and a way for people to live more healthily and extend their reach.”

And the Beijing-based company’s stated goal is enormous: “To unlock every corner of the world, and to make bicycles accessible to anyone, anytime, anywhere,” said Lin.

And though that sounds like a lot of bluster, ofo already has more than 8 million bicycles in operation, mostly in China, and claims to serve more than 25 million daily rides.

To top that off, ofo received $700 million in venture capital last month with its eyes set on global expansion. And Seattle is their first city in the United States. By the end of the year, the company hopes to be in more than ten U.S. cities.

“In a few months or in a year” Lin said she hopes many people across North America “will make bike share a part of their transportation options.”

So far, there are a few hundred ofo bikes on Seattle streets, and the company is rolling more out gradually and consistently. Maintenance staff will scale up as the number of bikes increases. Their permit allows up to 1,000 bikes now, increasing to 2,000 September 7. Continue reading

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Spin/LimeBike announce access for people without smart phones or credit cards + Spin offers 50¢ rides for ORCA Lift holders

Spin outreach staff spreading the word about the company on opening day in July.

Spin and LimeBike have both announced new ways for people without smart phones, data plans or a credit/debit card to access their bike share services.

People will soon be able to buy pre-paid Spin Access cards at Bike Works in Columbia City that include an access code and a phone number to text to unlock a bike. So you still need a phone, but any phone that can send text messages should work.

And to make the Spin program even better, anyone with an ORCA Lift transit card can get the passes for half price. That means 50-cent rides for people who have already qualified for the low-income transit pass. Just show your ORCA Lift card at the register.

This announcement comes about a week after LimeBike started accepting cash payments at its Fremont headquarters. In the LimeBike program, users can call a phone number to unlock a bike after loading cash into their accounts in person. And though LimeBike did not mention a discount for ORCA Life users, the company said rides for students only cost 50 cents.

Seriously, what even costs 50 cents anymore? A gum ball? You could take three discount Spin trips for the cost of a single discount transit fare. If your work is within a half hour ride, a week of round trip commutes would cost $5 (if it is within an hour ride, your week’s commute bill would be $10) (CORRECTED MATH). That’s a week of biking for a fraction of the cost of a single Uber or Lyft ride. And since the average cost to own, operate, insure and maintain a car in the U.S. is $8,500 per year, that’s equivalent to nearly 17,000 discount Spin rides. If you averaged three rides per day, it would take nearly 16 years to reach the cost of a single year of car ownership. The difference is so vast that the math gets a little silly.

In a city where everything just keeps getting more expensive, these companies are offering new services that slash transportation costs. Transportation is one of the biggest costs of living, so that’s a pretty big deal. Continue reading

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