Petition to Midpeninsula Regional Open Space Administration Office, Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority, Matt Anderson
Electric Bike Open Space Access
Bay Area Open Space Electric Bicycle Access An open letter to our community leaders and outdoor enthusiasts: The Bay Area is home to some of the best trails for riders of all ages and experience levels. Trail access has always been a hot point with various advocacy groups muscling for equal access. Sales of Electric Mountain Bike, or E-MTB are growing exponentially in the Bay Area as all major manufacturers are releasing their own models. Nobody wants to buy a new bike only to find that their favorite trails are now illegal to ride. E-MTBs are human powered and should be categorized as such. There is no throttle and the rider has to be pedaling for the bike to work. This must be the biggest distinction from motorized vehicles and mopeds. The human is doing the work to make the vehicle move. One of the biggest hurdles to overcome is categorization. We don’t want to upset non-electric advocacy groups that are fighting for access to trails that are currently illegal to bicycles of any type. They are fighting the same fight in a different light. We only want access to trails that are currently legal to ride bicycles. E-MTBs are slower uphill than expert and professional riders on a traditional non-electric race bike. Electric bikes generally have governors that prevent the bike from exceeding 28 mph assisted although most E-MTBs have a max motor assist speed of 20 mph due to the tuning of the motor. All bicycles are limited to 15 mph on most trails in our trail systems. All bicycles will follow the same speed limit laws. Generally, E-MTBs also have much superior braking systems that produce better stopping power and allow greater control especially going downhill. A traditional mountain bike will cause more soil erosion than an E-MTB due to the higher tire pressure, narrower tire profile and lower coefficient of traction. E-MTBs run a wider tire at a much lower pressure that forms around terrain rather than plowing through it. This better traction translates to less skidding, better cornering with less wash out and ultimately less soil movement. In short, E-MTBs cause significantly less trail damage and erosion than any traditional bicycle. As far as nuisance complaints go, E-MTB motors are silent and the bikes make as much sound as a normal bicycle. Also, riders are people, and as such there is always a spectrum of respect for other people and the trails. There are disrespectful runners, horse back riders and bicyclists alike. These laws should accommodate law abiding respectful people not their disrespectful counter parts. What is arguably the biggest reason to open trails to E-MTBs would be to allow access to people who could not otherwise enjoy or even reach our beautiful spaces. We have seen dozens of people that can’t ride a traditional mountain bike anymore, either due to injury, illness, physical limitation or disability. They want to be outside. Families will be able to carry their small children and gear. Older people will be able to keep up with family and friends. They want to explore the same pristine wilderness that we all enjoy. We have seen men and women that are riding trails they haven't been able to ride for decades back on their favorite trails they used to ride. This would not have been possible for them without electric assist. Can we as community members band together to end the vitriol and realize we all have the same desire to go out and enjoy nature? Can we share our Open Spaces so everyone can enjoy them? Open Space is something to be proud of and something to be fully supportive of as a community of outdoor-oriented people. As more people can get out to enjoy and appreciate nature more people will vote to protect it.
Petition to BikePedPA
Better Cycling Signage in Chester County
Road signage designed to protect cyclists and warn drivers of potential cyclists along popular cycling routes is seriously deficient in our area. Millions are spent on bike paths and pedestrian/cycling bridges like the one in Valley Forge, but little is dedicated to good (and plentiful) signage where most of us ride. The "Share The Road" sign is out-dated, largely ignored, and too general. We, as avid cyclists, would like to see more signage that is more cautionary, more informative, and more easily understood by drivers. Signs like "Please give cyclists four feet of space," "Do not pass cyclists on blind corners or hills," "Caution: Cyclists Likely," "Slow Down; Popular Cycling Route," "Expect Cyclists; please pass with care," are all good examples of better signage. By using heat-maps, like the ones on Strava, we can predetermine the most heavily traveled areas by cyclists, and put the signs where they will be most effective. Having "share the road" signs on roads where no intelligent cyclist is likely to be is just a waste of resources. Having nothing is worse. The originator of this petition (Gibbs Tolsdorf) is volunteering to help PennDOT finalize the semantics and graphics of the new signage and also aid in determining the locations where they will be most effective.
Petition to Union County Freeholders
Shared trail access in Watchung Reservation
Trails across the United States help connect people to nature, inspire healthy activities, and by their very nature, help protect natural places - making communities more livable and connected. However, there is not a single shared trail in all of Union County, New Jersey. This is unacceptable. The positive impact of a shared multi-use trail network is multitudinous. Economically, property values and taxes tend to rise near shared trails, jobs and revenues in local businesses increase, and health care costs are reduced as communities adopt a healthy lifestyle. Environmentally, shared trail systems are generally well protected and enjoy better maintenance and care overall. Finally, shared trails offer a safe space for children and families to enjoy free recreation devoid of the hazards of neighborhood street riding. While the Freeholders have begun the process to permit cycling in certain parts of Watchung, the process is slow and is being stalled by a very small but vocal special interest group that ignores the facts and uses fallacious arguments. Please let the Freeholders know that you support beginner and intermediate bike trail access to Watchung Reservation. Make it known that you support a safe place for our kids to enjoy nature traffic free and close to home. Put them on notice that the majority share of their constituency support this plan.
Petition to Metro Parks Tacoma
Point Defiance: Close the Outer Loop to Cars!
Please sign this petition urging Metro Parks Tacoma to close the outer loop of Point Defiance Park's Five Mile Drive to private cars and trucks. As Tacoma and the Puget Sound area grow, the need for quiet places like the old growth forest surrounding the outer loop is increasing. As at Seattle's Seward Park, pedestrians and bicyclists could use the paved road much more safely, and park shuttles or other alternatives could allow the elderly and disabled to continue to enjoy the loop. A closure would not affect access to Owen Beach, Fort Nisqually, or the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium. Closing the outer loop would also address a stubborn problem at Point Defiance Park: the feeding of wild raccoons from cars. This is a liability for the taxpayers who fund the park through Metro Parks Tacoma. A rabid raccoon could bite a person or a pet, an issue that's likely not just foreseeable but inevitable. Despite signs warning people to "not feed the animals," the problem persists -- the raccoons act like Yellowstone National Park grizzly bears did in the 1960s, approaching cars like little masked zombies. Closing the loop would also reduce the litter problem in the otherwise pristine forest, which is mostly associated with teenage drinking and pot smoking near pullouts along the outer loop. Urge Metro Parks Tacoma to close the outer loop to private cars!