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Child riding on Milvia Street Protected Bike Lane in Berkeley, CA

Fantastic Berkeley Bike Lanes: Riding on Milvia Street on a Sunny Day

Protected Berkeley Bike Lanes on Milvia Street We rode the new Milvia Street protected bike lanes in Berkeley again a few days ago.  These lanes are protected from automotive traffic in a few different ways.  There are concrete islands with metal rails in some sections (by Berkeley High School, for example) and then simply concrete barriers in other parts.  There are a few unprotected paint-buffered areas.  In general, the lanes allowed us to feel more comfortable riding around Berkeley with a physical barrier between us and moving automobiles. We were on our way home from getting lunch.  Our route took us south on Milvia Street from near the Cal campus in order to get back to Oakland.  It was a short but enjoyable stretch.  A few students were milling about and the vibe was nice and calm – perfect for […]

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Oakland Slow Street Sign with Scraper Bike

Goodbye to Oakland’s Slow Streets

Slow Streets are ending in Early 2022 We sadly received notice that Oakland’s Slow Street program was being discontinued in last January/Early February 2022.  The threat of being hit by a car is the biggest safety risk for anyone riding a bike with a child. Slow Streets helped by reducing (but not eliminating) automobile traffic, and by promoting a sense of belonging for people who want to use shared public space to walk, bike, jog, and play. We’ll miss these slow streets.  We’ve seen 10-20 children learn to ride their bikes on slow streets, and we use them for our monthly Bike Parades.  They were integral to giving our child confidence to ride their bike on the road, and to giving us the confidence to safely ride bikes with our child. Oakland Slow Streets Video We ride on these multiple […]

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The east side of the Emeryville bike bridge and pedestrian bridge

New Bike Bridge! A great first ride on the new Emeryville Pedestrian and Bike Bridge

I took my first ride across the Emeryville bike and pedestrian bridge recently.  It just opened on December 3rd. According to the Emeryville Eye, the idea was first officially conceived in the 1980s.  It’s amazing that it has taken this long.  But it is very nice. The South Bayfront Bike and Pedestrian Bridge Its official name is the “South Bayfront Bridge” and it has been a work in progress since 2002 and cost $21 million.  At one point, the city of Emeryville had to sue the state to recover funds for the bridge.  The bridge connects the Bay Street shopping area on the west (and even has an entrance to the parking lot from the ramp up the bridge) and Horton Street on the east side, just south of 53rd street. The bridge makes crossing the railroad tracks much much […]

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Kids and Parents biking on Slow Streets in Oakland

Neighborhood Bike Parades That Help Kids Learn to Ride Together

The kids bike parade is a way to let kids play, ride bikes together and learn to ride safely.  Children and adults make new friends and build community by bike. How did the bike parade start? Earlier on in the pandemic, we learned that COVID spread mostly through poorly-ventilated air. We tried to think of ways to still foster social interactions between children with a lower risk profile.  Our family and a lot of others have gone with their kids biking to spend time outdoors.   We started by turning a birthday party into a evening bike ride.  Kids had fun biking together and being able to see each other not on a computer screen! Parents got a chance to ride with their kids and others. Neighbors were treated to a lively mini parade.   A few parents loved the […]

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Bike lane on SE 42nd, Portland

Is this bike lane safe? (Riding to Creston Park was kind of scary)

  I took my child to Creston Park by bike during our last visit to Portland.  Aside from a few issues (it was hot! and my kid wasn’t used to their borrowed bike!) the ride there was mostly pleasant.  We took some of the calm neighborhood streets and Greenways. Our general path was along SE 34th, Clinton and SE 45th Avenue. I knew we’d have to cross SE Powell at some point, but I guess I had hoped that there’d be a decent way to bike across it.  Especially since Portland has relatively (for the USA) good bike infrastructure.  I also hoped that since there’s a park with Creston Elementary school nearby, the city might have provisions for easier biking to school and play.   We saw another adult and children riding, presumably headed to the same destination.  We stopped […]

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Protected bike lanes under construction on Milvia St in Berkeley, CA

Protected bike lanes on Milvia in Berkeley

  Protected lanes in Berkeley! I noticed a lot of new construction activity on Milvia Street in Berkeley a few months ago, after visiting Sports Basement and Missing Link in search of a new bike rack.  I was pretty excited to see that it looked like protected lanes were going to be installed.  Recently, coming back from University, it was nice to see the construction taking place around Addison, Center, Center, and along Berkeley High. Why protected lanes? I’ve asked a lot of friends what would make it easier for them to ride their bike more.  Most have answered that they’re scared of automobile traffic.  While painted bike lanes can be helpful, there’s not much preventing a distracted driver from drifting or veering into a bike lane and harming a person on a bike.  Protected bike lanes are great, because […]

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Red kid bike crew in Berkeley

A kids bike ride through Berkeley

 We went for a bike ride through Berkeley last week with some friends and kids.  Our friend’s child has a 20″ Frog 52 and we have a 20″ Opus Doppler.  Both red.  We enjoyed the Ninth Street bike boulevard and riding around the makeshift traffic circles (aka Healthy Streets Traffic Octagons)Third (and final, for now at least) Healthy Streets quick-build traffic octagon installed at 9th and Page! @CityofBerkeley https://t.co/Z2eIZVCGn9 pic.twitter.com/Kg8gbn7Z1C— Walk Bike Berkeley (@WalkBikeBerk) May 20, 2021The kids enjoyed singing, racing, playing games, and just chatting while riding, and I’m sure we’ll repeat this sometime in the future.We rode through West Berkeley and got food at Pollara Pizzeria and Tacubaya on 4th street when everybody got hungry.  Then we headed home. Or follow along for updates:

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Oakland Kono Protected Lane

On Oakland potentially removing our first-ever protected bike lane on Telegraph Ave

I was really disappointed to read that OakDOT is planning to remove Oakland’s first-ever protected bike lane presumably after pressure from a lot of pressure from the KONO (Koreatown Northgate) business improvement district.  Initially, I heard a lot of mixed reviews from cyclists about the protected lanes in the KONO district, mostly because of parking confusion.  Drivers would park their car in the middle of the bike lane, despite markings, because they expected parallel parking to be at the curb rather than offset from the curb.  This would then cause a big problem for a bike rider when the lane would be fully blocked by a parked car. After everyone got used to this, I felt that it worked a lot better.  I feel that it’s a lot safer because there are physical barriers (parked cars, bollards) between someone on […]

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Bridge bike ride

Bicycle infrastructure and riding with children

If you’ve been riding your bike for a while, you’ve probably heard some variant of “Get off the road!” coming from an irate driver more than a few times.  (There are a lot of links out there that try to answer the question, “Why do people shout at cyclists?”) Though it can be at best unpleasant to hear, I do wish that it was easier to ride on a dedicated path that’s not shared by automobiles.  Reducing the idea of bicycling to solely a recreational activity has made it harder for people to safely ride as a mode of transportation.  And without a network of routes to reach areas where people can ride bikes for recreation, people often need to put their bikes in or on their cars, and drive to a destination.  I think that many people want to […]

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Photo by Adrien Olichon from Pexels

Riding bikes with children: Talking about cars

In the USA, at least, I found that talking to kids about bike safety meant talking a lot about cars. Dedicated bike paths (in the USA) don’t always take you where you need to go When our child started riding with us on their own bike, I realized that 90% of our communication was about riding safely with cars on the road.  It wasn’t about kids bike safety gear, helmets, proper clothing or anything else like that.  Dedicated bike paths to the library, the playground, to school or wherever else for running errands usually don’t exist in the States.  So, we had to ride in the street, and this meant sharing the road with cars.  This is a little scary when riding with a young child. Though there are bike lanes near me, a layer of paint doesn’t feel like […]

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