Bicycle Registration

 

biketheft

I recently read an article on bike theft. It’s a good chance you know someone who had a bicycle stolen. Maybe yourself. Losing a faithful steed is tough. Preventing it from happening can be a tougher. A determined thief is just going to win. This leaves doing your best to dissuade said thief.

 

A big part of securing your bike is knowing the potential for it’s theft. Looking at how other bikes are locked is a good way to measure how secure you need to be. Keeping your  bike in view is ideal. Don’t be afraid to ask if you can bring it inside.

 

There are many types of locks, the heavier is usually the better.

 

-Short stops: Usually fine with a light type of lock (unless the area is known for  aggressive bike theft)

-Longer stops: Secure the bike to something solid with a solid lock.

-Overnight: Lock everything you don’t want taken with very strong locks.

 

I have never had a bike stolen (use your favorite method for scaring away the evil spirits). I am very conscious about security and will go out of my way to secure my bikes.

 

If your bike is taken:

 

Having information on your bike is a really good way to help get it returned. Registration is a good dissuader to the potential thief, makes it a hard bike to sell.

 

There are two bike registries mentioned in the article. One has a smartphone app, the other is web based but accessible via smartphone web browser.

bikeindex

 

The first registry site, Bike Index was started by a bike mechanic in 2007. It has been integrated in 2014 as a nonprofit still mostly using dedicated volunteers. They have over 50,000 bikes in their registry. It is free and easy to use, but you must create a login with an email address. They claim to find a stolen bike each week throughout the summer months.

529garage_yellowonblack100-8f033afe2ab8c1d16a29d2fa3cbf20fb

 

This other site is very new, but sounds like it has the right idea and tools to do the job. This is a quote from their website.

 

“About Project 529

Founded in 2013, Project 529 is a diverse team of software professionals in Portland, Oregon that believes that technology can enhance the cycling experience. Their first product, the 529 Garage is simplest and most complete bike registration system created to date, having helped secure approximately $15M worth of bikes since its introduction last year. Recently, J Allard was appointed to the newly formed Portland Police Bike Theft Task Force by Portland Chief of Police Larry O’Dea to help attack the growing frustration with bike theft in Portland.

For more information or questions, contact media@project529.com”

 

Project 529 requires a social media login (Facebook, twitter, Google). It is a security measure to prevent thieves from creating a registry on a stolen bike by simply making a new email address for it. As we all know, it takes time to create a social media account.

 

The site has a shortcut for a quick registry by having an active member of Project 529 register your bike using your email. I tried this, it does work. They will send you an email on your bike registry and invite you to register (with your own social media account) at your leisure, or not.

 

Bicycles are fun, having to secure one, isn’t. Taking time to gather the info on one dissuades most owners from registering their steeds.

 

These registry sites are easy to use. With a smartphone, you could register your bike in a couple of minutes anywhere you have service.

 

I’ve registered all my bikes on both registries and am planning to get some of the 529 stickers for my favorites.

 

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Bike Anywhere 2015

bikeanywhere_web2015banner

Free Wheelin’ Wednesdays

June 3rd, 10th  & every Wednesday throughout the year, 4:00 – 8:00 pm

Pearl Street Brewery, 1401 St. Andrews St., La Crosse

Bike to the brewery and enjoy a free beer

C.R.A.P (Cheeseburgers, Ride, Ales and Pins) Ride

June 3rd, 10th & every Wednesday throughout the year

Depart from Pearl St. Brewery at 6:05 for a casual group ride through La Crosse’s neighborhoods, enjoy a $3 burger at Ye Olde Style Inn and finish the ride with bowling at Pla-mor (2 games and shoe rental for $5)

Led by Michael Barreyro, ph 715-586-1736

Bike to Coffee

Sunday, June 7-Saturday, June 13

Bike to coffee, show your helmet & enjoy a free cup a coffee.

Grounded Specialty – Bean Juice – Java Vino – Jules – McCaffrey’s – Moka – Ground Up – Root Note – Cabin Coffee – People’s Food Coop – River Rocks – Blue Dog -The Pearl Coffee House – 500 Club Bistro in legacy building Gundersen

Bike Rodeo

Sunday, June 7, noon

Hogan Administrative Building, 807 East Ave., La Crosse

Have the kids complete the bicycle safety course. Following the bike rodeo there will be a neighborhood group ride.

Led by Carolyn Dvorak, carolyn.dvorak@WisconsinBikeFed.org

Bike Ride with Kevin Miller and Carolyn Dvorak from Blue Heron Bike Shop

Monday, June 8, 6pm

Blue Heron Bike Shop, 213 Main St., Onalaska

Bike from the Blue Heron Bike Shop to the North Side of La Crosse and back.  Estimated distance 10-15 miles.

Wisconsin Bike Fed’s Executive Director, Dave Cieslewicz will take a bike ride with Mayor Kabat from City Hall

Tuesday, June 9, 8am

Everyone is welcome to join.

Women’s Bike Ride from River Trail Cycles

Wednesday, June 10, 5:45pm

River Trail Cycles, 106 Mason Street, Onalaska

Women’s Road Ride 25- 30 miles with a couple of hills; no one will be left behind

Led by Carolyn Dvorak, carolyn.dvorak@WisconsinBikeFed.org

Bike to Loggers Baseball Game

Thursday, June 11

Bike Basics Class

Thursday, June 11, 6:00 – 7:00 pm

People’s Food Co-op, Community Room, 315 5th Ave. S., La Crosse

$5 PFC Members/ $10 Nonmembers

A must attend for both novice and avid bikers. Colin Stiemke of Blue Heron Bikes will show you the basics from lubing a bike chain to tire pressure and brake adjustments; learn basic repairs to keep you on the road.

Bike Week Celebration

Friday, June 12 4:00 – 8:00

Cameron Park Farmer’s Market, La Crosse

Enjoy music by Grand Picnic & learn more about how the DRBC is working to improve bicycling in the driftless region.

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Construction Ahead: Transportation Planning in 2015

Big changes are proposed for transportation in the La Crosse region this year, with high stakes for everyone, including cyclists and pedestrians. There’s a limited window of opportunity for the public to be involved in the complicated plans; here is a bare-bones summary of many different issues with a few specific links, dates and events. But things are changing so fast that this list will probably be outdated by the time it hits the web, so be ready to sprint to stay informed.

 

Dates to remember:

 

February 23, 7PM, Myrick Center La Crosse – City Transportation Vision – opening public meeting

February 26, 7PM, Myrick Center La Crosse – City Transportation Vision – closing public meeting

April 11, 8AM-Noon, Myrick Center La Crosse – Mayor’s Neighborhood Conference: Transportation

TBD – State DOT Coulee Region Transportation Study public meetings

 

After decades of complicated history, including a referendum in 1998 and a spirited discussion before the La Crosse Area Planning Commission in 2014, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation has announced a new study of what was once known as the north/south corridor. This project is described in state law as covering USH 53 extending approximately 6.2 miles between I 90 and USH 14/61 near 7th Street, but recent public statements from the DOT have broadened the area to include WI-16 and WI-35 along with USH 53. In La Crosse itself, those highways are better known as Copeland, Rose, George, 3rd, 4th and La Crosse streets as well as West Avenue and Lang Drive.

Now under the name Coulee Region Transportation Study, the DOT is conducting a year-long process to come up with a plan for a major highway construction project, listed in state law for decades (though still without dedicated funding set aside for its estimated $140 million price tag). While state statute seems to require this type of project to either build new road or add new lanes to existing roads, the DOT has indicated that many different options are still possible; at this point in early 2015, no one knows what the recommended option will be – a new highway? New lanes on existing highways? New technology or improved roads? No new construction?

In the planning world, one year is an incredibly short time, and indeed this is an accelerated process that is entirely new to the region: it’s an innovation known as Planning and Environmental Linkages, or PEL, an attempt to speed up existing National Environmental Policy Act requirements for environmental studies that has only been applied once before in Wisconsin. While observers don’t know a great deal about this new process, we can see that public involvement in the early stages is incredibly important to the eventual outcome. The study’s Citizen’s Advisory Groups have already been formed. If they’ve not been invited to those positions, DRBC members can sign up for announcements of upcoming public meetings to get their viewpoints included in the DOT planning process.

No matter what option is planned, it will still have to go through environmental permitting and the state budgeting process, in a time of great budget uncertainty. This means that the possible eventualities range from nothing at all to the largest construction project in the region. With this huge variety of outcomes, there is of course a chance of great impact on cyclists and pedestrians – will increasing traffic volume, speed, or lane numbers on north/south roads include bicycle traffic options, on-street lanes or off-street paths? What about transit? Will changing north/south roads alter the ability of cyclists and pedestrians to move east/west in La Crosse? What will be the impact future land use patterns for neighborhoods, suburbs and surrounding communities?

1.  La Crosse City Transportation Vision

In an attempt to contribute to the state DOT’s planning process over the rest of the year, the city of La Crosse is organizing its own Transportation Vision process. The first public meeting is Monday, February 23rd at 7PM at the Myrick Center, with additional meetings with key stakeholders and open office hours over the rest of the week and a closing presentation Thursday, February 26th at 7PM. (Complete schedule). Consultant Toole Design Group, a firm with nationally-recognized expertise in complete streets design and bike-ped planning, will use these meetings as a basis for a document summarizing a city Transportation Vision, which the DOT has indicated that they will include in their own planning.

2.   Mayor’s Neighborhood Conference

With all of these transportation issues going on, it makes sense that the La Crosse Mayor’s Neighborhood Conference would pick transportation as its theme for this year. Come to the Myrick Center April 11, 8AM – 1PM to hear invited keynote speaker Chuck Marohn of the nonprofit Strong Towns, reports from neighborhood associations, tables and information from representatives from groups and companies involved in transportation, and short presentations on a variety of transportation topics in the region.

3.  Wisconsin

Of course, all of this is happening with a background of a rapidly-changing state budget. In particular, the proposed Senate Bill 21 would repeal Wisconsin’s Complete Streets law. As the Wisconsin Bike Fed puts it, The law requires that bicyclists and pedestrians be taken into account whenever a road is built or reconstructed with state or federal funds. In addition, SB 21 would eliminate all state support for the Transportation Alternatives Program (cutting about $2 million from state bike programs and construction projects), and essentially eliminate the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund, which funds state trail purchases.

There are obvious implications for state-controlled road building here in the La Crosse region, which has recently jumped into a leading position in complete streets planning. The County and City of La Crosse and the City of Onalaska all have passed their own complete streets ordinances in the last several years, with the DRBC’s support. Along with a 2011 La Crosse Area Planning Commission resolution, the city and county ordinances were recently named in The Best Complete Streets Policies of 2014 by the non-profit Smart Growth America. Respectively, they were ranked 4th, 6th, and 25th in their categories from the more than 700 policies examined nationwide. While no one knows what might happen in practice if the state eliminates its own complete streets requirements, in principle it certainly looks like a step backward for sustainable transportation options in the La Crosse region if SB 21 is passed with the repeal intact.

 

For all of these issues, the best way to stay involved is to stay informed; I encourage DRBC members to follow the issues that motivate them and attend the city Transportation Vision meetings, February 23-26, as a key opportunity to contribute to the future of getting around in the La Crosse region.

 

— James Longhurst is an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse, studying the history of urban and environmental policy. He is the author of Bike Battles: A History of Sharing the American Road, out this spring from the University of Washington Press.

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