All posts by Amanda Gamby

Put a Lid on It! Free Kids Bike Helmets Available

In 2017, the number of people injured by not wearing a bike helmet was 51,000, enough people to fill Nationwide Arena in Columbus 2½ times. Universal use of bicycle helmets by children ages 4 to 15 could prevent between 135 and 155 deaths, between 39,000 and 45,000 head injuries and between 18,000 and 55,000 scalp and face injuries annually. The National Transportation Safety Board is recommending that all 50 states enact laws requiring bicyclists to wear helmets to stem an increase in bicycle deaths on U.S. roadways.

To help prevent injuries and save lives, the Bowling Green Bike Safety Commission is joining the Ohio Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (Ohio AAP) in a statewide effort to remind children to “Put a Lid on It! Protect Before You Pedal”.  Bicycle helmets will be going to children across Ohio this summer thanks to a continued partnership between the Ohio Department of Transportation and the Ohio AAP.

Bowling Green was one of several local communities to receive youth bike helmets for distribution.  Helmets will be distributed on a first come, first served basis.  Those in need of a youth helmet may pick one up at the Bowling Green Community Center during regular operating hours.  Sizes and quantities are limited.

To learn more and show your support, visit OhioAAP.org, or the “Put a Lid on It” Facebook page, www.facebook.com/bikehelmetsafety.

Bicyclists: You Are Traffic!

Bicyclists: You Are Traffic!

Steve Langendorfer, City of BG Bicycle Safety Commission

Did you know that when you ride a bicycle, scooter, golf cart, or even wheelchair on a designated street, you automatically become a “vehicle” just like an automobile, truck, or motorcycle? That means that according to the Ohio Revised Code, you have all the same rights and responsibilities of an automobile driver! We often call the responsibilities of driving “the Rules of the Road.” Do you know what those “Rules” are when applied to bicycles?

You probably actually know many of those rules just from being a passenger in a car. You may not realize that the first “traffic rules” were adopted in major cities in the early 1890s. They were originally intended to regulate how bicycles, not automobiles, should behave on the streets. In the late 19th Century bicycling had become a real transportation craze over a decade before motorized cars were common and they were causing problems by running into pedestrians and not moving in any orderly fashion. Today, we think of traffic rules, regulations, and laws as focused on motor vehicles, but that is a result of how dominant automobiles became in the Twentieth Century.

As a bicyclist, you must ride on the right and go the same way as the rest of traffic. On one-way streets, you can only ride in the same direction as the cars. No fair going against traffic: Not only is it illegal, it is also downright dangerous not to pedal with the direction of traffic! The Ohio Revised Code advises that bicycles and other human-powered vehicles should ride as far right on a roadway “as practicable.” Notice that it does not say “as far right as possible.” The subtle differences between “practicable” and “possible” are important. When a bicyclist rides right against the edge of the paved road, several dangerous things can happen. You can encounter loose gravel, litter, broken pavement, and drainage grates, all of which can cause you to take a disastrous spill onto the road or to need to swerve to avoid them which can take you unexpectedly into the path of a faster moving automobile. If you ride far to the right, it is also more likely that a motorist will try to pass you without maintaining the legal 3-foot distance – or they may not see you at all.

Where should you ride in the lane? We advise that you should ride where the right passenger side wheel of cars travel which takes you about 1/3 of the way out into the lane. Most people’s first reaction is that “cars will run me down” or “blow their horns and get mad.” Surprisingly, neither of those things is likely to happen. No motorist wants to run into another auto or a bicyclist. Think about it: it would ruin their whole day, not to mention delay them for a long time while an accident is being investigated. By riding in the passenger wheel path of the road, it becomes evident to motorists that they cannot pass you without moving into the other lane. By law, if a vehicle such as a bicycle is traveling 50% or less than the posted speed limit (e.g., 12.5mph on a 25mph speed limit street; 17.5mph on a 35mph speed limit street), it is absolutely permissible for an overtaking vehicle to cross a single or double yellow line, assuming the other lane does not have an oncoming vehicle. From my personal experience, few, if any, motorists get aggravated or blow their horns when following my bicycle. I do like to advise that if several cars do get backed up behind you and the oncoming lane is not open to allow passing, you may want to pull over momentarily and let the cars pass just as a common courtesy. When you do that, everyone is happy. You don’t have impatient cars wanting to pass and you don’t have to feel like you are being an obstruction.

What are some other common “Rules of the Road” that cars are expected to follow and that bicycles also should? One extremely important rule is “Come to a Complete Stop on Red.” This means that, just like automobiles, when you come to a traffic signal or a stop sign, you must stop, not just slow and roll through. Despite the general perception that only bicycles run stop signs, research has shown that in any given community, the tendency to roll through or run red lights is similar between cars and bikes! In communities with strong traffic enforcement, both cars and bicycles tend to come to complete stops. In other communities with lax enforcement, both cars and bikes tend to roll through stop signs and sometimes traffic signals.

It is important to know that research has shown that the most likely place for a car-bicycle accident to occur is at an intersection. It makes unfortunate sense that when different directions of travel cross, there is a greater chance for a crash or close call, especially if one or both vehicles don’t come to a complete stop and follow the rule of “right-of-way.” This “right-of-way” rule says when two vehicles arrive at an intersection at the same time, the one to the right should go first. This applies whether it is two cars or a car and a bicycle or even two bicycles.

Some people are so worried about riding in the road that they ride on the sidewalk. It seems safest on the sidewalk, doesn’t it? Did you know that over the past decade, around 90% of all bicycle-car crashes in Bowling Green have occurred when the bicycle is on the sidewalk?! The explanation is fairly obvious: motorists are not expecting bicycles on sidewalks. Compared with pedestrians, bicycles are moving at least 5 times faster than a walker. Also, when you are on the sidewalk do you realize that every driveway becomes a potential intersection? Cars backing out of the driveway or pulling in from the street usually are expecting only other cars and perhaps pedestrians, but not a quickly moving bicycle.

When driving an automobile it is well understood that you are expected to use your turning indicators when making a turn or changing lanes. While riding on a bicycle, you are required to do the same thing although many bicyclists do not seem to realize that necessity. Some modern bicycles actually do have electronic turning indicator lights, but the most effective strategy is to use your hand and arm. When turning or moving right, stick the right hand and arm straight out from the shoulder and point in the direction you intend to go. The same thing goes for a left turn except you use your left hand and arm straight out to the left. I believe a third hand signal, although rarely used, is particularly important. That is a slow or stop signal where you hold your arm straight down and at a slight angle with the palm facing back. On a bicycle it indicates the same thing as the brake lights of the car to alert a following vehicle that you are slowing and/or stopping. If you think about it, it is just common courtesy as well as important for safety to let other vehicles around you know the direction you intend to go and if you are changing your speed. Don’t make cars guess what you are going to do: show them with your arms! They will appreciate it and you will be much safer.

Some other bicycle-related aspects of the Ohio Revised Code include the need to have lights and reflectors on all bikes as well as a sounding device such as a bell or horn (but not a siren device!). Bicycles also need to have well-functioning brakes that can stop the bike on dry pavement. New LED light technology allows you to put a bright white front-facing and red rear-facing light that draws a minimum of battery charge. You may argue that you rarely ride after dark, but you still should have lights on your bike and you should use them in rainy, foggy, or other low-light conditions. Some bicycle safety advocates suggest you should always have your lights on for the same reason many automobiles drive with their lights one: to be seen! Being seen is a critical safety factor and nice bright LED light alert surrounding vehicles to your presence at quite a distance even in broad daylight. We also strongly recommend wearing brightly-colored garments especially those that have reflective tape on them.

I have discovered one other safety procedure that I try to use anytime I see an automobile in a driveway, parking spot, or at an intersection. Always try to make eye contact with the other driver! If you can see their eyes, it means they are able to see you as well. Whenever I encounter a car where the driver is not looking in my direction or they have tinted glass so that I cannot see the driver, I assume that they don’t see me, and I slow way down until they look at me. An automobile weighs hundreds of times more than you and your bicycle. In the case of an unfortunate collision, the bicycle and bicyclist always lose! Don’t be a loser!

Now, let’s see if you remember some of the Rules of the Road by trying out the following “friendly quiz.” The correct answers to each question appear after the last question.

  1. When riding a bicycle on a roadway, you are officially designated as
    1. A pedestrian
    2. A bicyclist
    3. A vehicle
    4. All of the above
    5. None of the above
  2. The original traffic “Rules of the Road” were created to regulate
    1. Horse and buggies
    2. Bicycles
    3. Trams and Trolleys
    4. Automobiles
  3. In the U.S., the most fundamental Rule of the Road for bicycles is
    1. Always ride to the right with traffic
    2. Never follow too closely behind cars
    3. Be nimble and weave through traffic
    4. Don’t take any guff from motorists
  4. Where is the optimal and safest part of the road lane for a bicyclist to ride?
    1. As far right and close to curb as possible
    2. In the middle of the road (e.g., between two yellow lines)
    3. Staying on the sidewalk
    4. Following the path of the right side (passenger side) wheel of cars
  5. Where is the most likely place to experience a bicycle-automobile crash?
    1. Riding on the sidewalk
    2. Rolling through an intersection
    3. Where two roads intersect
    4. All of the above
    5. None of the above
  6. How can you keep safe in traffic?
    1. Wear bright reflective clothing
    2. Use hand signals to signal turns and stops
    3. Have lights and reflectors on your bicycle
    4. Follow rules of the road
    5. All of the above
  7. What are the primary laws governing traffic in Ohio?
    1. Local/city ordinances
    2. Federal regulations
    3. Ohio Revised Code
    4. The Law of the Jungle
    5. All of the above
  8. T F     Never take both hands off the handlebars under any circumstances.
  9. T F     A properly outfitted bicycle has lights, sounding device and functioning brakes.
  10. T F     Bicyclists do not have to follow the same rules of the road as automobiles

 

1: C; 2: B; 3: A; 4: D; 5: D; 6: E; 7: C; 8: T; 9: T; 10: F

Registration for May Brush Collection Begins May 1

The window to schedule a May Brush Collection will be open from May 1 to May 10.  Residents may go online to register their address for this month’s collection!  Follow the Brush Collection Link located on the home page of the City’s website (www.bgohio.org) to complete the form.  Residents may also call 419-354-6227 to be added to the list of locations where crews will stop.  Collection is scheduled to begin on May 17.  Those who do not call in or go online to register by May 10 will NOT be included on the collection route!

Brush should not be placed curbside any sooner than one week prior to pick up.

Brush and limbs should not be more than 6″ diameter and 6′ in length and placed loosely at the curb – not bundled.  NO stumps!  Brush mixed with leaves or other yard debris will not be collected.  The City, at its discretion, will not collect entire tree(s) placed in the right of way because of work by a contractor.

For cul-de-sacs, please do not place brush in the cul-de-sac green space as it may block fire hydrants, and/or it is unmanageable for City equipment to remove.

NOTE: Pickup is by WARD and NOT by normal refuse collection day. To be included on the collection route, residents must register their address prior to the May 10 deadline.

Residents are encouraged to visit the City’s website for more information and details.  Information about this program may be found on the Public Works Division web page or residents may call Public Works at 419-354-6227.

Link to Online Registration: https://gis.bgohio.org/brush/dbo_brush_requests_add.php?fbclid=IwAR0gdZq1jmrQna9nqpA9A32XWGWdlokkZaHo3263UM-AG2NnkUqSxOiCzks

City Park Trees to be Treated for Gypsy Moths

The European gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar) is a non-native, invasive species that has moved into Ohio from Pennsylvania and Michigan over the years.  In its caterpillar stage, it feeds on the leaves of over 300 different tree and shrub species and is especially fond of oak.  The big oaks are one of City Park’s best assets and gypsy moths feed on their leaves.  Repeated annual defoliation that results from gypsy moth infestation can lead to the death of the tree. In the early 2000’s, City Park became infested with gypsy moths and from that point on, the City’s Arborist has continued efforts to manage the risks associated with these pests.

Burlap tree bands will soon be applied to the trunks of the large oaks in City Park to help reduce the caterpillar population.  The banded traps will be in place for the months of May and June.

Later in May, all the oak trees in City Park will receive a Bt (Bacillis thuringiensis) foliar spray.  Bt is a naturally-occurring bacterium that will be sprayed by a licensed contractor into the canopy at night while the caterpillars are feeding. This bacterium is not harmful to people or pets; it is specific to caterpillars.  However, the park will need to be closed to pedestrian traffic until the spray has dried.

This work is weather dependent and has not been scheduled.  A date and subsequent park closure information will be released once determined.  The closure is expected to take place for a half day only and will not disrupt the school traffic in the morning.

For more information on gypsy moths, please visit the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s website: https://agri.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/oda/divisions/plant-health/gypsy-moth-program

Lehman Ave. Sewer Repairs – April 27

The Water Distribution and Wastewater Collection Division will be repairing a sewer lateral on Lehman Ave.  Because of this work, Lehman Ave., between Manville Ave. and Railroad St., will be closed to traffic on Tuesday, April 27th.

It’s anticipated that the repair work will last one day.

This schedule may change depending on progress of work and weather.

Bicycle Spokesperson of the Year

The Bowling Green Bicycle Safety Commission is sponsoring their annual Bicycle Spokesperson of the Year award.  Nomination forms for this award are now available on the City’s website.  Any Bowling Green citizen can be nominated who exemplifies the spirit of bicycling through involvement in biking, bike safety or bike-related activities. Nominations must be submitted by Wednesday, May 12. For questions or more information call the Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Department at (419) 354-6225.

Bowling Green Achieves Tree City Recognition for 41st Year

The Arbor Day Foundation has named the City of Bowling Green a 2020 Tree City USA in honor of its commitment to effective urban forest management. The City also received a Tree City USA Growth Award for demonstrating environmental improvement and higher level of tree care. This is the 41st year Bowling Green has been recognized as a Tree City and the 27th time the City has received the Growth Award.
Bowling Green achieved Tree City USA recognition by meeting the program’s four requirements: a tree board or department, a tree-care ordinance, an annual community forestry budget of at least $2.00 per capita, and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.
The Tree City USA program is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation, in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters. “If ever there was a time for trees, now is that time. Communities worldwide are facing issues with air quality, water resources, personal health and well-being, and energy use,” said Dan Lambe, President of the Arbor Day Foundation. “Bowling Green is stepping up to do its part. As a result of your commitment to effective urban forest management, you are helping to provide a solution to these challenges.”
More information on the program is available at www.arborday.org/TreeCityUS
More information on the City’s urban forestry program is available HERE

Bowling Green Recognized for Reliable Electric Service to the Community

In addition to the recently announced RP3 Designation, the City of Bowling Green Electric Division has received national recognition for achieving exceptional electric reliability in 2020. The recognition comes from the American Public Power Association (APPA), a trade group that represents more than 2,000 not-for-profit, community-owned electric utilities.

APPA helps electric utilities track power outage and restoration data through its subscription-based eReliability Tracker service. Once per year, APPA’s Reliability Team compares this data to national statistics tracked by the U.S. Energy Information Administration for all types of electric utilities.

“Public power utilities have proven their commitment to serving their community by continuing to lead the nation in reliability,” said Alex Hofmann, APPA’s Vice President of Technical and Operations Services. “These utilities are the best of the best when it comes to keeping the lights on in their communities.”

Nationwide, the average public power customer has their lights out for less than half the amount of time that customers of other types of utilities do.

“We are grateful to receive this recognition. It is a testament to the hard work of all our staff to ensure that we keep the power on for Bowling Green customers,” said Brian O’Connell, Director of Bowling Green Municipal Utilities.

As one example of this reliability, a Bowling Green customer’s average power outage duration is less than 6 minutes per year compared to the national average of 139 minutes.  We continue to invest in our electric infrastructure for system upgrades and reliability.  Routine maintenance, such as tree trimming around power lines, also reduces nuisance outages from animals or high wind events.

For more information on Bowling Green Municipal Utilities and its commitment to reliability, visit www.bgohio.org.

“Stories in the Woods” at Wintergarden/St. John’s Nature Preserve

Bowling Green State University graduate students in Dr. Amilcar Challu’s environmental history seminar class developed a community-based history told along the hiking trails of the Wintergarden/St. John’s Nature Preserve in Bowling Green, Ohio. Funded by a grant from Ohio Humanities, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, “Stories in the Woods” introduces the public to the fascinating environmental history of this local nature preserve.

From April 10-May 31, 2021, ten signs located along the green trail of the Wintergarden/St. John’s Nature Preserve will narrate historical features of the park, from indigenous occupation, to farming, to the present preserve. QR codes on the signs connect visitors via their smartphones to the Stories in the Woods website, providing more information, primary sources and a short reflection. Community members of all ages are invited to visit the preserve for fresh air, captivating stories, and a rejuvenating walk in the woods.

Dani Tippmann, Plant Tradition Bearer of the Myaamia Nation and city park naturalists, Chris Gajewicz and Cinda Stutzman, will host the webinar “Honoring Our Plants” on Wednesday, April 21, from 3-4:30 p.m. Tippmann will share ecological information about the native and non-native plants in St. John’s Woods. Join the webinar at bgsu.edu/storiesinthewoods.

The preserve was originally established as a reserve freshwater well field for municipal use in 1946 but was never used for that purpose and became the Wintergarden Recreation Area.  The current acreage of the preserve includes a significant portion of land once owned by S. W. St. John, an early Bowling Green resident, attorney, and gentleman farmer. In the 1990s, the land, then known as Wintergarden Park, changed its focus to environmental education and natural resources preservation and management.  Now, the Wintergarden/St. John’s Nature Preserve encompasses 120+ acres of prairie, savanna, and swamp forests along with trails designed for passive recreation activities and nature observation.  Wintergarden/St. John’s Nature Preserve is unique in that it is a semi-urban nature preserve and park which actively manages and maintains the land with a high degree of environmental value and offers professional outdoor environmental educational services to community.

Follow the project on Twitter using the hashtag #Storiesinthewoods. To learn more about the Wintergarden/St. John’s Nature Preserve, visit blogs.bgsu.edu/storiesinthewoods.

For more information, contact Dee Elliott at .

Registration for April Brush Collection Begins April 1

Brush Collection – Schedule between April 1 – April 12

Online Registration Available!

The window to schedule an April Brush Collection will be open from April 1 to April 12.  Residents may go online to register their address for this month’s collection!  Follow the Brush Collection Link located on the home page of the City’s website (www.bgohio.org) to complete the form.  Residents may also call 419-354-6227 to be added to the list of locations where crews will stop.  Collection is scheduled to begin on April 19.  Those who do not call in or go online to register by April 12 will NOT be included on the collection route!

Brush should not be placed curbside any sooner than one week prior to pick up.

Brush and limbs should not be more than 6″ diameter and 6′ in length and placed loosely at the curb – not bundled.  Brush mixed with leaves or other yard debris will not be collected.  The City, at its discretion, will not collect entire tree(s) placed in the right of way because of work by a contractor.

For cul-de-sacs, please do not place brush in the cul-de-sac green space as it may block fire hydrants, and/or it is unmanageable for City equipment to remove.

NOTE: Pickup is by WARD and NOT by normal refuse collection day. To be included on the collection route, residents must register their address prior to the April 12 deadline.

Residents are encouraged to visit the City’s website for more information and details.  Information about this program may be found on the Public Works Division web page or residents may call Public Works at 419-354-6227.

Register Online: https://gis.bgohio.org/brush/dbo_brush_requests_add.php?page=add