Thursday, October 14, 2010

Bike Safety, Police Helmets at Last Meeting; By-Laws & Bike-Ped Plan Next Week!

Notes by Loren Demerath.
In attendance: Robert Trudeau, Kathy Fontaine, Susan Fontaine, David Aubry, Kari Brownholland, Cynthia Keith, Garrett Johnson, Maurice Loridans, Steph Pedro, Loren Demerath

Cynthia described her research on the identities of the two young women who spoke at the MPC hearings on the Master Plan and who so thoroughly spoke to the interests of the city in exactly the way we’ve discussed in meetings (the need for bike paths and nature trails among other things [Loren thinks?]). Yes, it was said we stalk our new members!

The radio show was noted and Liz Swain and Kathy Johnson and Susan were all complemented for their contributions. We were so excited by having so many fun guests we forgot to mention this meeting afterwards during the show, or even to invite Liz Swain! Cynthia said we should’ve invited Liz Swain to the meeting. We maybe could partner with them next year. Robert noted we’ve come a long way just to get a walking tour of historic Highland. It happens a lot elsewhere, but not here, and this is a big step getting this here.

A digital copy of the poster that Marion Marks would be nice--one that we can e-mail.

Next week we could talk to Shreveport Green; they and the Ozark Society will be doing a cleanup of the Red River this Saturday. We can talk about how that was and then about Velo Dendro coming up and the tree planting. Robert will contact Donna Curtis about that. Kari will email Marion Marks. Steph talked about her web app that you can use from any mobile device; can be used even from laptops. Jennette can’t be here but the group discussed the letter to send to the police department.

Dear Chief Willie L. Shaw, Jr,
It has come to the attention of A Better Shreveport that our bicyclist police officers in the downtown area do not wear helmets. This is of concern to our organization for several reasons. First, we believe the police should be setting a positive example for the rest of the community, especially children and young adults. Bike-related crashes kill 900 people every year and send about 567,000 to hospital emergency rooms with injuries. Wearing a bike helmet can reduce the risk of head injury by 85 percent (US Consumer Product Safety Commission). Because of the nature of their duties (chases, etc.), bicycling police officers have a greater risk of injury. With that in mind, we are also concerned about taxpayer costs associated with police bicyclist injuries and rehabilitation. Further, the image of the bicycle officers wearing bullet-proof vests (but not helmets) sends a very mixed message about public safety in the downtown area.
Bicycle advocacy is a priority of our organization and we would be happy to offer our experience and expertise in urban bicycle safety to the police department, if needed.
Thank you for taking this issue under consideration. Please keep us informed of the progress you make on this important issue. We look forward to hearing from you.

Members of

Maurice talked about his ambivalence towards helmets. Bright colors and caution are more important. They say, “dress like a clown, and ride like an invisible clown” if you want to be safe. The Europeans don’t use them, nor the Chinese, but they have so many cyclists there’s safety in numbers, urban transportation biking isn’t like racing in the Tour de France--35 mph in a pack.

It was agreed that we should send the letter, nonetheless, because of the priority for setting an example for kids, not to mention adults. Kari mentioned her very serious bike accident--the group was stunned. [Would not have happened on a bike path, Loren wonders?]

Susan passed around the Austin Bike map complete with safety instructions.

Caroline will be here next week and Steph and she will talk about their scope of services for the bike-ped plan. Should be great to see how the pieces can fit together for really designing a more bike-able walk-able Shreveport. Bike paths and nature trails for all!

Because of Susan’s election as CAO and contributions and commitment, etc., all agreed she should be nominated as a board member. She was so nominated, and was then elected.

David Aubry discussed the Riverscape properties and there are a number of businesses considering it, but each is waiting to see who goes first.
The new Petrohawk, #2 driller in the Haynesville Shale is using a lot of the ideas in the Master Plan to build on the old Champion Links par-3 and driving range.
They’ll be making the connector to the bike path there off Preston soon. The bike path linking 70th and Tokyo area of the automall will be fixed soon as well.

In Desoto Parish they’re having to resurface roads because of the hauling trucks associated with drilling. They don’t have an enforcement officer there, but their taxes should be paying for it. But the designs need to accommodate the weight.

Robert fetched the Velo Dendro posters from Marion Marks' nearby office.

April Waren, April Dahm, David Nelson, Carolyn Manning could all pick up and distribute; Steph will take one to Ian Webb for Rivercity Cycling. Maurice will take on to Scott at Scooter’s. [NOTE TO ALL: VELO DENDRO POSTERS ARE OUTSIDE LOREN’S OFFICE -- PLEASE FEEL FREE TO COME BY AND PICK UP AT 213 CENTENARY SQUARE.]

The group discussed the need to publicize Velo Dendro. Kathy Fontaine said she is willing to cork. Robert will be taking photographs.

Lastly--but not least!--the group also nominated and voted to the board Cynthia Keith.

Steph also asked what we can do to get a dog park faster. Cynthia thinks the election is holding it up. It was said many of us would be more than happy to do leg work for the dog park. Shelly Raigle had said by this fall we would have one, and fall is certainly here. We need to have a new ordinance that allows people to drop the leash. Stephanie has seen all the ordinances that are going to be introduced and they don’t include that one. It was agreed that we should call somebody.

Loren suggested that next week we vote on the bylaws and it was agreed that we would try to do so and put in on the agenda. Susan said she would review them by then and come to Monday’s with possible suggestions if she thinks we need them.

Next meeting is Monday the 14th, when we’ll vote on the bylaws and hear about the bike-ped plan scope of services from Caroline Majors and Steph Pedro. Should be a great meeting!

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