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FCBC Newsletter

October 2021

Fall is finally here after a long hot, summer.  With the recent cooldown, the smoky air cleared, making this perfect riding weather.


In this month’s newsletter:


• We are concluding our series on sharing the road with other road users with tips to get along with other bicyclists.

• The next bike café is on Tuesday, October 12, at 7:00 pm with the topic “Bike Maintenance Ask Anything.”

• FCBC Board elections are approaching, with nominations in November and voting in December.

• The next chapter from the pending book by Juan Flores on biking in Fresno discusses trails in Fresno.

• In the Legislative Update, the Governor has signed and vetoed bicycle-related bills.


Sharing the Road with Other Bicyclists


There are a few things that bicyclists can do to reduce conflicts with other bicyclists to make for a safer ride.


1. Ride on the correct side of the road.  Wrong-way bicycling, or “salmoning,” is one of the bigger threats to bicyclists next to errant motorists.  A wrong-way bicyclist heading straight towards you can lead to a game of chicken.  Should you stay to the right or go left to avoid the scofflaw cyclist?  In general, you should keep to the right, but above all, do whatever it takes to be safe, and that may be stopping or pulling over to let the wrong-way bicyclist pass.

2. Communicate your intentions just as you would with motorists.  Use hand signals for turns and scan before turning or changing lanes.

3. Don’t follow other bicyclists too closely.  Unless you are riding with a familiar group doing competitive training and are skilled in drafting, keep your distance to avoid hitting the bicyclist in front of you should a sudden stop occur.

4. Pass other bicyclists on the left, and announce yourself by calling out “on your left.”

5. If you see a road hazard, such as a pothole, point it out to any bicyclist that may be following you.  You should also let the appropriate jurisdiction know about it because it may help another bicyclist from getting hurt:

In the City of Fresno, go to the FresGO website or use the app

In the City of Clovis, go to the customer service website

In unincorporated Fresno County - use the GoFRESNO app, email RdMaint@fresnocountyca.gov, or call (559) 600-4240

On a State highway or interstate, submit a customer service request to Caltrans

The above links and others for the remaining municipalities in Fresno County can be found on the FCBC website on the Resources page.

FCBC Bike Café on October 12


Join us for the next bike café, where the topic will be "Ask Anything Bike Maintenance" on Tuesday, October 12 at 7:00 pm.  Come discuss basic bicycle maintenance with Chris Eacock of Tower Velo Bicycle Shop.  We'll be talking about the nuts and bolts of DIY bicycle maintenance.  What skills and equipment do you need?  How do you keep your bike rolling?  Come and share your experiences with the group.


To join the bike café, register here, and you will immediately get an email with the Zoom link.  If you have any questions about using Zoom or registering for the event, or if you would like to submit questions about bike maintenance in advance of the event, email us events@fresnobike.org.


Future bike café topics include the following:


• Bike law (what to do in a collision; basic rules of the road) - November 9, 2021

• Bike bridges - January 11, 2022


If you have any suggested topics for future bike cafés, you can send them to events@fresnobike.org.


Upcoming Board Elections


FCBC Board members set the direction, plan the activities, and manage the resources of FCBC, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.  At this time, both the State of California and Federal government are focused on reduction of greenhouse gases and non-motorized modes of transportation, which has therefore pushed local agencies to alter their land use to reduce vehicle-miles traveled (VMT) and promote transit, walking, and bicycling.  This is providing more opportunities for FCBC to be engaged with local agencies in advocacy and education.


Nominations will be taken at the FCBC Board meeting scheduled for November 18.  Voting will be held online in December, with results announced at the December general membership meeting.  Filling the vacant Membership Coordinator position is a high priority, but FCBC members are encouraged to nominate other FCBC members or themselves for any of the Board positions of Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary, Membership Coordinator, Treasurer, and Members at Large.  There are no specific requirements other than being a FCBC member and resident within Fresno County.  New board members bring an infusion of energy and new ideas.  More information regarding the duties and election process can be found in the FCBC bylaws.


Bicycling in Fresno:  Chapter 2


Below is the next chapter in the book that FCBC Vice Chair Juan Flores is writing on bicycling in Fresno.  Juan welcomes any comments, corrections, and constructive criticism at juan@fresnobike.org.  All installments are also being posted on the FCBC website as they are released.


Chapter 2: Introduction to canal trails and other bike paths


There are many canals that cut across Fresno to deliver water from the dams of Shaver and Millerton to the farms west of Fresno.  The primary beneficiaries of these canals have been the farmers of the valley, but we also have benefited from the great agricultural bounty of our San Joaquin Valley. 


These canals have been great informal paths for bicyclists, and although many of them are not open to the public, the more adventurous bicyclists among us have taken advantage of the opportunity to travel across our communities via these canal bicycle paths without fear of automobile traffic. 


In a dedication ceremony in June 2016, then Mayor Ashley Swearingen announced the Fresno Midtown Trail, partially along the canal along McKinley Avenue, as the beginning of a system of bicycle pathways that would cross Fresno and connect with the Clovis Old Town Trail that was built on former railroad tracks.  Alas, many years later, the first segment of the Midtown Trail has yet to be built, though it’s getting closer to construction.  Despite the delays, there remains great excitement among bicyclists about the possibility of opening up the canal along McKinley Avenue to bicyclists along with the possibility of connecting it to various other canals that crisscross the Central Valley.


Most of the existing maintained trails on former railroad tracks are in north Fresno and Clovis and are less accessible to bicyclists in central and south Fresno, but they are a model for the possible utilization of the interconnected canals that can offer great recreation and transportation possibilities for the community.  The existing Enterprise Canal Trail, Clovis Old Town Trail, Sugar Pine Trail, and Dry Creek Trail are connected with the exception of some small gaps that force people to deviate to the streets and then reconnect at a later point.  These are minor inconveniences, but they don’t detract much from the rides.


There are many canals across the communities of Fresno and Clovis that have the potential to offer bicyclists controlled and protected rides and give them access to views that are not available otherwise.  In subsequent chapters, some of the canal trails and other official trails will be described.


Legislative Update


The legislative session for the California Legislature came to a close, and the Governor has several bills on his desk for his signature or veto.


Assembly Bill 122, proposed to bring the “Idaho stop” to California and allow bicyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs.  The bill was vetoed by the Governor.over concerns that safety would decrease and that children may not be able to properly gauge the speed of approaching traffic or exercise the necessary caution to yield to traffic when appropriate.. 


Assembly Bill 117 would establish incentives for electric bicycles.  The bill was not approved by the Legislature and will not be proceeding to the Governor.  It may be reintroduced next year.  The State budget for the current year includes $10 million for e-bike incentives.  AB 117 would have provided sustained funding, with a greater focus on equity than the current funding.


Assembly Bill 43 modifies the method that speed limitsare set and gives more guidance as to when speed limits can be reduced an additional 5 mph from the 5 mph increment below the 85th percentile speed.  The bill has been signed into law by the Governor.


On the Federal side, there is a proposed tax credit in Congress with the Build Back Better Act that would provide a 15% tax credit on the purchase of a qualifying e-bike (maximum 750 watt, electrical assistance when pedaling up to 20 mph).  This is down from the originally proposed 30% tax credit.  The credit applies to e-bikes costing less than $8,000, and is capped at $750 per individual and $1,500 for a couple filing jointly. The tax credit phases out at annual incomes of $75,000 per individual and $150,000 per couple.


The Bicycle Commuter Act of 2021 will restore the $81 per month pre-tax credit for commuting by bicycle if approved.


Next Board Meeting


The next Board meeting is scheduled for Thursday, October 21 at 7:30 pm via Zoom.  Everyone is welcome to join the virtual meeting.  If you would like to participate, please send an email to info@fresnobike.org, and the Zoom link will be sent to you.


If you are not yet a member of FCBC or need to renew, please visit https://fresnobike.org/join to become a member or renew your membership.

Have a comment or suggestion?  Contact us at info@fresnobike.org

Fresno County Bicycle Coalition

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