Thursday, February 24, 2011

The 8-80 Rule

Vibrant Cities - Healthy Communities - Great Places - Happy People

Last month I was introduced to something called the 8-80 Rule thanks to @T_Starry....who found out through Gil Penalosa and

What is the 8-80 Rule, you ask?  Well it's all about road infrastructure, and it comes down to 3 steps:

Step 1:  Think of a child that you love and care for who is approximately 8 years of age. This could be a child, grandchild, sister, brother, cousin etc.

Step 2:  Think of an adult, approximately 80 years of age who you love and care for. This could be a parent, grandparent, friend etc.

Step 3:  Ask yourself: Would you send that 8 year old along with the 80 year old on a walk, or a bike ride on that infrastructure? If you would, then it is safe enough, if you would not, then it is not safe enough.

This rule may seem overly simplified, but it is a great way to determine the safety of our roads.  Now, think about the road around you...the ones you travel to work, the store, school.  Do they pass the 8-80 Rule?

I know that they sure don't where I live, but I wish they did.  If we're going to get more people out there riding their bikes, we need city planners to adopt the 8-80 Rule.  If we're going to have safer roads for cyclists, we need the 8-80 Rule.

The mission of the 8-80 organization is:
  • Our goal is to contribute to the creation of vibrant cities and healthy communities, where residents live happier and enjoy great public places.
  • We promote walking and bicycling as activities and urban parks, trails and public spaces as a way to fulfill our goal.
  • These activities and public spaces improve our environment, advance economic development, boost and complement our transportation systems, make better recreation for all, and enhance our personal and public health.
  • We believe safe walking and cycling infrastructure, and vibrant public places are key symptoms of a more people-oriented and socially equitable city.

I really like the great vision of this non-profit Canadian organization.  They are doing great things and I invite you to find out more about the 8-80 rule at

Thursday, February 17, 2011


With the introduction of social media, there came an incredible avenue to deliver the message such as "Please BE KIND to Cyclists".  We're not alone in our plea to promote safe cycling and increase the harmony and tolerance between drivers and cyclists....and #saveacyclist is another message that needs to be heard.

Transportation in itself is risky, with as many as 50,000 driver fatalities every year in the U.S. alone, but cyclists are particularly vulnerable on the streets. Despite existing laws protecting cyclists, and driver education that anyone with a driver’s license has undergone, many still don’t take care to watch out for cyclists on the roads. The tragedy is that so many of these deaths are preventable.
@bikinginla recently posted a great piece on the vulnerability of cyclists, and just how avoidable car vs. bike collisions really are in a blog posted on @KCRW: I Trust You with My Life. No really.

The truth is that collisions are actually hard to have. If you obey the law, pass and turn safely, and pay attention to the road in front of you — and I do the same — it’s virtually impossible to come in contact with one another.

That’s why, if you’ve noticed, I don’t use the word accident to describe a wreck. Because very few accidents actually are. In order to have one, someone has to do something stupid, careless or illegal to cause it.
And that’s why I have trust in you.
Because I can only control what I do on the road. The rest is your hands.
And I’m counting on you to make sure we both get home safely.
Along with too many others, the new year brought news of the deaths of two promising and accomplished cyclists. Carla Stewart of the HTC-Highroad women’s team was hit and killed by a truck while training in South Africa earlier this year. Lewis Balyckyi , a 2008 national youth circuit race champion who would’ve gone on to compete in the 2012 olympics, was killed just miles from his home after a collision with a van.

These deaths prompted cyclist Kathryne Brown, race administrator for the Tour of Britain and Tour Series, to take to Twitter. She started the hashtag #saveacyclist to help raise awareness and hopefully prevent these completely avoidable and unnecessary deaths.

The #saveacyclist tag is a terrific example of how just taking a moment to share your concerns with others online can have a great impact. What started as a simple tweet resonated around the web reaching potentially thousands of others to take note.

If the sum of all these Tweets and Facebook status updates amounts to inspiring X number of drivers to pay just a little more attention and learn what it means to share the road.....mission accomplished.