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» The Simple Power of the Bicycle

another article summarizing transportation x urbanization x climate change x advocacy x urban planning.

Transportation is the largest single source of air pollution in the United States. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, fine particulate matter alone, much of which comes from transportation related emissions, is responsible for up to 30,000 premature deaths each year. Yet transportation is one of the areas that we, as individuals, have the most ability to control. A whopping 60% of carbon emissions generated by transportation in this country originates from cars and light trucks (the remainder mainly from heavy-duty vehicles & airplanes). The average person who bikes five miles to work, five days a week, avoids 2,000 miles of driving a year – the equivalent of 100 gallons of gasoline saved and 2,000 pound of CO2 emissions avoided. This equates to saving 5% of the average American’s carbon footprint. This means that regular people like you and me have the greatest potential to turn this problem around.

Simply put, too many people are burning too much fuel in single-occupancy vehicles. Fortunately, a surprisingly straightforward, inexpensive, and low-tech solution to this problem is right under our noses or, more likely, stored in our garages..

Americans are no different than our friends in northern Europe when it comes to making basic lifestyle choices. How we decide to get to work, bring our kids to school, or move around for errands or recreation is largely based on what’s most convenient and expedient for us personally, not some grand environmental motivation. If it’s easier and faster to drive, we usually do. If transit is most convenient, we take the bus. If biking proves speediest and most enjoyable, then we’ll pedal.

Unfortunately for our environment (as well as our pocketbooks and general health), American communities have largely been built to prioritize automobiles, making it a challenge to see bicycling, transit, or walking trips as the most attractive options in many places.

This is where the work of bicycle advocates can be most effective. Our focus is on improving the policies, plans, and investments needed to make communities bicycle-friendly so that more people have the option of biking for more of their trips.”

by Leah Shahum, sfbike.
read more: stanfordenergyclub, 07.04.14.

» 6 Highlights from the California Bike Summit
  • Daring Goals, Diverse Leaders
  • Innovative Collaboration, Participatory Cities
  • Development vs. Displacement 

One term I’d never heard before but really resonated was “lived displacement” — a concept put forward by John Stehlin, a grad student at UC Berkeley. Even when residents are able to stay in their homes, what happens when the neighborhood character changes beneath their feet with shifts in retail and street life? That’s displacement, too. And we’re just at the beginning of this important discussion.

  • Planning + Play
  • Elevating Women
  • Redefining Mainstream

read more: girlbikelove, 11.2013.

bicycle safety rodeo @sfbike’s winterfest, 03.11.13.
i miss the bay so much right now!!all the great events going on—cal bike summit in oakland, ebbc’s biketopia, walksf’s woonerven (05.dec)… I just want to go to all the bike/walk advocacy parties!!
Biketopia is tonight! 5:30-9:30 in Downtown Oakland.

Ring in the new year a bit early with your fellow members and energetic EBBC supporters as we revel in this year’s accomplishments and look forward to 2014. Between the new Bay Bridge bike path, the Bikes on BART victory, new green bike lanes and miles of new bikeways throughout the East Bay, we have plenty of thanks to hand out.

you can still buy tickets in the door (includes membership and a drink ticket).
some pics from last year’s biketopia. :[ i’m missing out on this year’s, and the california bike summit, too!
» Moving the Conversation Beyond Helmets

Wear a helmet, don’t wear a helmet; you choose. We just want you to ride.

It’s probably no surprise to our regular readers that by and large, the most contentious issue you write to us about is helmets. Helmet feedback floods our inbox, Facebook page, Twitter feed and website more than any other subject related to riding a bike. Each time we publish a photo of someone not wearing a helmet we either get yelled at or applauded. So it’s time we officially share our opinion on the subject with you.

We don’t believe the law should require helmets for people over the age of 16. We believe that adults should have the right to choose whether or not they wear a helmet. It feels wrong and repressive living in a city where cyclists are targeted by the police and looked down on by other citizens for not wearing a helmet. Making people who choose to respectfully travel by bike, while following the rules of the road, become the victims of attacks and fines is unreasonable.

At best, helmets may reduce the consequences of collisions, but they cannot stop a crash from happening in the first place. Helmet arguments focus much-needed energy away from what really matters in making cities safe for cycling: lower (and enforced) speed limits and separated and connected bike infrastructure.

We understand that our readers often have personal stories of loved ones who feel that they were saved by wearing helmet. We definitely won’t argue that helmets don’t save lives when people fall and hit their heads. In some cases we are sure that helmets have saved lives.

But we don’t need to police helmet use; it is a waste of resources and a waste of our time as promoters of safe, everyday cycling for transportation. Before you write us about helmets, please first write a letter to your local representative asking for better bike infrastructure and separated bike lanes. We need to move the conversation forward. We need to unify our voices and put our energy towards lobbying for infrastructure and enforced universal lower speed limits. Tell your friends why we need better bicycle infrastructure. Write more letters to local politicians. Don’t remain silent when it comes to making cycling safer for everyone.

Momentum Mag will continue to publish photographs of people biking with and without helmets because we proudly promote the bicycle as transportation and present everyday people riding bikes in everyday situations in whatever clothing and accessories they choose to wear. We need more role models and we need to take more action towards better cycling conditions. Encourage, don’t discourage. Our cities need the voices of people who ride bikes to unify and fight as allies, not judgmental enemies.

Please help us move the conversation beyond helmets. We all have much more important things to talk about.

Mia Kohout & Tania Lo
Publishers, Momentum Magazine


momentum mag is awesome. subscribe! or pick up a free copy at your next local bike event!


but if you’re “pro-helmet”, you should reevaluate your views based on evidence. If you’re truly “pro-helmet”, you’d advocate for motorist and pedestrian helmets in addition to bike helmets. (see:

» California by Bike — Summit this week in Oakland (nov. 7-10)

Oakland Welcomes You!

Oakland and its surrounding neighborhoods have achieved a 4.0% bike commute mode share, ranking it 2nd only to Portland as the most bike-popular metro area in the US.

It started in 1994 when Oakland launched the 1st Bike to Work Day in the Bay Area, which has grown into a region-wide event. Oakland’s popularity for bicycling has been helped by having the most bike-friendly transit service in the country — Bay Area Rapid Transit — which can also take you across the bay to San Francisco in just ten minutes!

Nowhere is bicycling better showcased than on Oakland’s First Fridays when its Uptown Arts District comes alive with bikes. And of course no protest in Oakland is complete without a sea of cyclists swarming in Frank Ogawa Plaza. 

Oakland kicked off this year by celebrating the demolition of a freeway at the foot of Lake Merritt, replaced by a new bike/ped path, which you’ll get to ride around. In the coming years, the ‘Town’ is bringing many new, modern bikeways to its busy bike corridors and getting City leaders on board with a NACTO Road Show next Spring. Come enjoy the sunny side of the bay.

—David Campbell. Advocacy Director of the East Bay Bicycle Coalition

calbike summit. schedule, speakers.

i hate when all these great events happen in town when i’m not there :[

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