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Seattle Bike Blog Magazine Issue #8

This issue brought to you by the following Seattle Bike Blog sponsors

Fremont Bridge smashes bike count record (for real this time) + Bike use rises all over town

“Fremont bike counter ticked over 5100 just as the bridge lowered. Looks like another record!” Photo from Tuesday afternoon by Taylor Kendall via Twitter. Used with permission

The Fremont Bridge bike counter is back up and running after getting a little ahead of itself late last month due to a malfunction.

But even without the erroneous counts, the now-repaired bike counter is showing astounding bike volumes over the classic draw bridge. Five days in recent weeks smashed last year’s record (5,121 on June 4, 2013), including an amazing 6,088 Tuesday.

Bike trips over the bridge in April were 21 percent higher than April 2013, confirming similar growth levels seen in the fall and early winter. If this rate keeps up, 2014 should be on track to break one million bike trips over the Fremont Bridge.

But Fremont is not the only bike counter experiencing a nice weather/Bike Month spike. The Spokane Street counter on the lower West Seattle Bridge is smashing its own records. However, since that counter was not installed until November 2013 (and didn’t really start making accurate counts until mid-winter or so), we do not yet have year-over-year data to compare the numbers to. But it’s still great to watch the numbers climb:

Spokane Street

We also have new data to report from the city’s other neighborhood greenway and trail counters spread out around town. These counters do not have visual displays like the Fremont and Spokane Street counters, and the hourly data is only released once a month.

Below is the result of those counts for the first four months of action. Again, we do not have year-over-year data yet, but it’s still interesting:

As a reminder, here are the locations of the counters:

Below are the links to the raw hourly data from If you are savvy and looking for a fun data visualization project, this counter data is just screaming for attention:

After delays, big Burke-Gilman detours begin + Support the UW TIGER grant

Via an interactive map of the trail detour.

The UW is finally set to start the set of big Burke-Gilman Trail detours Wednesday. So be prepared for delays through the area, whether you travel through the area on the trail or get there from the Montlake Bridge.

We wrote about the upcoming detour back in April, but construction got pushed back a month. Now they are ready to get started, according to an email from UW Transportation Services.

The crazy amount of work also now includes a Seattle City Light project that will close sections of the trail between the substation under I-5 and 15th Ave NE. The first phase of this work starts this month between Brooklyn and 15th. No word yet on what the detours or schedule will be for the other phases. I have a question out to City Light and will update when I learn more.

Support the Burke-Gilman TIGER grant

This section of trail near the University Bridge demonstrates what the whole trail could someday be like

Amid all the crazy detours, the UW has submitted a totally rocking application for a $14 million federal TIGER grant so they can fully upgrade the Burke-Gilman Trail through campus. You can voice your support for the application online.

This is the second year UW has tried for a TIGER grant, and they have refined the application to give it a better chance this year (grants often take multiple tries).

The trail already carries as many people during peak hours as a high-performing lane of a major freeway, and that before the September launch of Pronto Cycle Share and the 2016 opening of UW Station.

The trail is an amazing success story, but it is also experiencing serious congestion issues that reduce its ability to carry more people comfortably. With big increases in use projected, there is no better time to invest in widening the trail, reducing conflicts and creating separate walking and biking spaces.

Two people collide while biking on I-90 Bridge, State Patrol looking for suspect who fled

With strong cross-winds, waves crashing on one side and highway traffic flying by on the other, biking over the I-90 Bridge can be a rather unnerving experience.

But crashes on the bridge are somewhat rare, but that is probably no comfort to one woman who was injured in an April 30 collision with another woman on a bike.

The woman who hit her fled the scene, and the Washington State Patrol is now seeking her for hit and run. They are also seeking witnesses how saw what happened or saw the suspect.

Officers say the victim was biking eastbound on the floating section of the bridge when “a white female, approximately 25-35 years old with sandy blonde, shoulder length hair” riding a road bike westbound veered into her.

As a reminder: You are required to stay at the scene of a collision whether you are on a bike or in a car.

While instances of serious bike-on-bike collisions are rare, they do happen. It’s a reminder to always slow to a safe speed to give others room. And obviously, don’t flee the scene! It’s a crime.

More details from WSP:

The Washington State Patrol is investigating a hit and run collision involving two bicyclists that occurred Wednesday, April 30, 2014 at 3:15 pm on the west end of the I-90 floating bridge bike path.
The victim, pictured below, was riding her bicycle … eastbound on the bike path when she was struck by a separate cyclist, who was traveling westbound. According to the victim, the suspect was westbound and veered to the left hitting her. The impact of the collision caused the victim to fall and sustain serious injuries to her elbow and hip.
The suspect is described as a white female, approximately 25-35 years old with sandy blonde, shoulder length hair.  She was riding a “tour type” bike and was not wearing a helmet or traditional cycling clothing.
The suspect initially stopped and asked if the victim if she “was OK?” and if she “needed anything?” She then left the scene on her bike, last observed riding westbound towards Seattle.
State Patrol detectives are requesting any information regarding this incident including witnesses who may have had contact with the suspect and/or victim.
The Washington State Patrol wants to remind that all citizens are required to stop at the scene of a collision and provide their contact information whether it involves a car or bicycle.
If you have any information related to this collision and/or events leading up to the collision, you are asked to please call Detective Ruth Medeiros at 425-401-7719.

WSP released the following photo of who they say is the suspect:

Happy Bike to Work Day!

Councilmember Mike O’Brien was among the many people biking on Dexter

You gotta love Bike to Work Day. It’s like a look into the near future when the everyday bike commute rate grows a bit higher. Plus there are people all over the region waiting at tables to wave at you and give you coffee, cookies and swag just because you’re on a bike. How cool is that?

Seattle City Councilmembers Tom Rasmussen and Mike O’Brien were among the throngs of people biking on Dexter to the KEXP commute station for a short rally. Once at the KEXP studio, they told the people gathered that “it’s on us” to fund the bike plan and make the city’s streets safer and more comfortable for biking.

O’Brien addresses the crowd at KEXP, flanked by Cascade’s Brock Howell (left) and Rasmussen (right in blue)

“Keep whispering $20 million to us,” said O’Brien, echoing a number Rasmussen said the city would need to spend annually, on average, to complete the bike plan within 20 years. That’s the magic number to hit (or exceed) in the city’s budget, and would represent an 80 – 100 percent increase in current levels.

If Bike to Work Day 2011 was about “peace on wheels,” as Sally Bagshaw put it, and 2012 was the year that Seattle Public Schools jumped with both feet into the Bike to School movement, the biggest message from 2014 is that the bike plan gives us the blueprint to make both busy and residential streets safer and more comfortable.

We have had the debate about “bikes vs cars” and determined that it is nonsense. We are all just people trying to get where we’re going, and we should be able to do so safely and comfortably. We have done the hard work of figuring out where and how to make improvements.

Now, we just need to fund it and make it happen.

Dexter shows what a truly complete street can look like.

Washington’s newest Bicycle Friendly Community: Sequim

Congratulations to Sequim, Washington State’s newest Bicycle Friendly Community. Sequim is the only new or upgraded Washington community on the League of American Bicyclists’ national list this year.

The Peninsula Daily News has the story of how Sequim made the list:

Sam Chandler of Ben’s Bikes, 1251 W. Washington St., filled out the lengthy questionnaire that assess everything from off-road trails to engineering for bicycle facilities and bike safety courses for youth.
“We’ve got such a great cycling infrastructure and a really well-stocked community,” Chandler said.
“It just seemed like we were exactly fit for this.”
City officials said the distinction reflects an effort to make the city more rideable for bicyclists.
“It’s something we’ve found when we do surveys about what people want in regards to activities recreation,” City Manager Steve Burkett said.

One thing that held the city back from getting a higher rating: A lack of wayfinding signage to help people navigate the city on a bike.

Sequim joins 11 other communities in the state to make the list so far:

  • Seattle: Gold
  • Bellingham: Silver
  • Olympia: Silver
  • Port Townsend: Silver
  • Redmond: Silver
  • Anacortes: Bronze
  • Bainbridge Island: Bronze
  • Snohomish: Bronze
  • Spokane: Bronze
  • Tacoma: Bronze
  • Vancouver: Bronze

Ride Bicycles moves to larger shop at 64th and Roosevelt

Image from Ride Bicycles

Ride Bicycles opened nearly four years ago in a tiny storefront at Ravenna Blvd and Roosevelt, and they packed that shop from floor to ceiling with products and service stands.

But after years of growth, it was well past time for a bigger space.

“We can have more than two parties in our shop at one time, so that’s good,” said owner Christiaan Bourdrez about the new space. He moved the shop a few blocks north on Roosevelt into the former Bamboo Hardwoods store, allowing them to add more service stands, stock more bike sizes and better display their wares. And the bamboo flooring and wall panels give the shop a comfortable feel.

“We’ll be like the small Clever Cycles of Seattle,” said Bourdrez, referring to the almost-legendary Portland bike shop that focuses on practical city bikes, cargo bikes and accessories. “We don’t carry anything that doesn’t allow fenders or racks.” It’s not uncommon for people to buy a nice road bike for recreation or a long ride like STP, only to discover that when they start biking to work, their bike was not made to easily install a rack to carry bags or full fenders to block rainy road spray.

Bourdrez is clearly proud of his shop’s growth, and he should be.

“We started out the old fashioned way,” he said, by maxing out credit card loans and working hard to pay it off. So being able to pay off the debt and grow the business into a larger, rather beautiful space is a big step for the shop.

Ride Bicycles has been a Seattle Bike Blog sponsor almost since day one, making the shop among our longest-running partners. The shop opened about a month after Seattle Bike Blog started, so we have sort of grown together.

I asked Bourdrez what he has learned since opening the shop, or if anything surprised him.

“I’m definitely surprised by how many people support local businesses in Seattle,” he said. “You could save a couple bucks online, but it’s not worth it.” He said people are willing to pay more if they trust you to provide quality service, and neighbors prefer to patronize a neighborhood business. He thinks it is important to pay workers a living wage “so they can live in Seattle” and so they will stay on staff and be dependable for customers.

“So long as you do a good job, people are willing to come to you for service.”

SDOT will buy you coffee to chat about walking and biking

You had me at “free coffee.” Oh, and also at “Tell Us What You Think about Biking and Walking.”

That’s right, SDOT wants to buy you coffee and chat about walking and biking in your neighborhood. They also want you to complete this online survey.

More info:

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