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Question:
Will you support events that benefit from bicycle traffic?
Answer:

Short answer: Yes.

Long answer: Yes. At Mode Shift: Move Together, we support initiatives that encourage community building, placemaking, walkable and bikeable cities. We believe that the more cyclists and walkers that are presnt and, well, biking and walking, the better supported the cycling and walking community becomes. In turn, the more prevalent cyclists and walkers are in a community, the more walkable and bikeable a community becomes. It's the postive and cyclical nature of change -- and it's for the best!

Events that are centered around biking and walking are always beneficial to the locale in which they are located. Automobile traffic takes notice and slows down. Foot and bicycle-wheel traffic slows the pace of life down in a community and lets people really take notice of the assets your neighborhood may possess. It also helps and encourages local businesses in the community - pretty much a win-win situation!

If you have any events coming up, I encourage you to create events on our www.WeAreModeShift.org as well as a group of people that can help you support your causes. The more you promote your events to your friends and family, the bigger the community becomes in support of these types of initiatives!

Please feel free to ask follow-up questions as well, Jean - and thanks for asking!

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Short answer: Yes.

Long answer: Yes. At Mode Shift: Move Together, we support initiatives that encourage community building, placemaking, walkable and bikeable cities. We believe that the more cyclists and walkers that are presnt and, well, biking and walking, the better supported the cycling and walking community becomes. In turn, the more prevalent cyclists and walkers are in a community, the more walkable and bikeable a community becomes. It's the postive and cyclical nature of change -- and it's for the best!

Events that are centered around biking and walking are always beneficial to the locale in which they are located. Automobile traffic takes notice and slows down. Foot and bicycle-wheel traffic slows the pace of life down in a community and lets people really take notice of the assets your neighborhood may possess. It also helps and encourages local businesses in the community - pretty much a win-win situation!

If you have any events coming up, I encourage you to create events on our www.WeAreModeShift.org as well as a group of people that can help you support your causes. The more you promote your events to your friends and family, the bigger the community becomes in support of these types of initiatives!

Please feel free to ask follow-up questions as well, Jean - and thanks for asking!

Riding your bike on the street or in a bike lane when you've been used to riding on the sidewalk can take some getting used to. While it is much, much safer to ride on the road, with traffic, new riders may find it daunting, especially if it's a busier road.

Consider these safety tips to maximize your safety and fun while riding on the road:

1. Always ride with traffic. 

2. Hone your riding skills by taking recreational rides with friends and on roads less-traveled by automobiles.

3. Always wear a helmet that fits properly. Helmets prevents serious injury in the majority of crashes.

4. Ride as far right as possible without hugging the curb.

5. While riding your bicycle on the road, you're technically considered a moving vehicle and expected to obey any and all traffic laws.

6. Keep a minimum of four feet between yourself and parked cars on the side of the road. Drivers rarely look in their wing mirrors before opening their doors. Look for people's heads in parked cars.

7. Ride predictably, consistently and attentively. Irratic riding makes drivers uneasy and may encourage animosity.

8. If possible, establish eye contact with drivers, especially when approaching intersections.

9. Wear high visibility clothing at night and in bad weather. Michigan bicycle law requires a white front light, a red rear light and reflectors on wheels.

And finally, this was a great suggestion offered by one of our readers:

10. "Seek out residential roads that run parallel to main roads and utilize them to avoid speedy traffic. Riding on 25mph roads is more comfortable and safer than riding on 40mph roads!" 

We agree, Allison, and thanks for the suggestion! Riding on a 40mph road probably doesn't do a good job of the aforementioned driver animosity toward cyclists, either! 

Biking and walking to work are both great ways to improve your health on a daily basis without having to drive to the gym after work through rush hour.

If you walk or ride to work everyday you could:

  • Burn more calories. Biking burns 400-700 calories per hour. Walking burns 300-500 calories per hour. (Consider this calorie burn counter to see which activities burn the most energy.)
  • Improve your cardiovascular health.
  • Maintain a healthy weight with ease. 
  • Burn more fat.
  • Reduce stress, lower blood pressure and manage cholesterol. 
  • Increase your flexibility, strength, stamina and overall engery. 
  • Improved sleep habits.

While the health benefits associated with biking and walking can be obvious, there are other hidden benefits associated with these activities. They:

  • Reduce wear and tear on your vehicle, which can cost up to $9,000 a year to operate.
  • Ease car sharing with family.
  • Can reduce sick days at work. 
  • Increase productivity and energy.
  • Save time by working out on your way to work.
  • Avoid annoying parking tickets.
  • Inspire your neighbors and others in your community to walk and bike more, creating a more biking/walking-friendly atmosphere.
  • And probably the best benefit of walking or riding your bike to work: No traffic.

While you might have to face the occasional windy or rainy day, these aforementioned benefits wholly outweigh having to drape a pair of wet trousers over the back of your desk chair to dry for your way home from work. 


In Michigan, if you’re over the age of 12 and serious about cycling, you should always ride on the street and with the flow of traffic. In fact, in many states, it’s the law.  (Look up your municipality’s laws here.) 

In Detroit, for example, children under the age of 12 are required to ride on sidewalks, while people over the age of 17 are required to ride on the street. Riding against traffic may seem safer, but it’s not. Cars can generally see you no matter what side of the street you ride on. The reality is, if you abide by the same laws as automobiles there is much less of a chance of getting hit by a car. 

 Another reason is if you ride against traffic, it causes drivers to break the law. Michigan law says you can't pass on-coming traffic in the same lane. So, if the wrong-way cyclist stays on the road, he forces every passing motorist to either break the law or to come to a stop. Riding against traffic also increases the number of passing vehicles.  Traveling in the same direction as 30 mph traffic at 15 mph halves the number of passing vehicles while riding against the same traffic at the same speed increases the number of passing vehicles by 150 percent.

Reaction time also plays an important role. Both the motorist and the cyclist have better reaction time when riding with traffic. For example, when approaching a cyclist from behind, a motorist can slow down and pass when doing so is safest.  The cyclist also has more time to react and can speed up somewhat when being passed from the rear; he or she has little ability to determine where he will be passed and much less time in which to react when being passed from the front. 

 Finally, the closing speed is much greater when cycling against traffic. Closing speed is how great the velocity difference is between two moving objects at the time of a collision and can quite literally make all the difference between a fatal and non-fatal accident.

If you don't feel comfortable riding on the street, that's OK - you're not alone. If you're serious about cycling for commuting and transportation, however, you'll want to become acclimated to riding on the road and in the safest way possible. Start small, ride down the roads much less traveled in your community. If you're in the city of Detroit, it won't be hard. Start on the roads with 25 mile-per-hour speed limits and in well-established school zones and other public areas teeming with pedestrians and other cyclists. Wear a helmet and wear bright-colored clothing - all these steps will make you more comfortable with riding in the street with automobile traffic. 

 

Glad you asked!

Placemaking is the not-so-new idea of building and managing local public spaces around amenities such as light rail or streetcar stops, parks and retail outlets.

When you spend your life looking from you car’s window, constantly traveling, you don’t seem to think much about the place outside your car’s driver seat. When you walk from place to place, however, it reconnects you with your neighbors and surroundings and it’s easier to do so when others are walking and shopping in their immediate neighborhoods and communities. 

Placemaking is not about silver bullets and blanket solutions, rather it's an organic and informed approach for developing communities around what people express the need for and building based on observation of what works and what does not.

This concept encourages officials and planners to design for a population's future needs and to leverage assets the community or neighborhood already has and enjoys using. It encourages developers to know a community’s residents and spurs developments that add value and utility to your everyday life, starting with small, relatively inexpensive projects that have immediate effect.

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