Introducing Planet Bike, a WABA Business Member

WABA’s Business Members understand the importance of a community that bicycles. Their membership supports our advocacy, outreach and education. Our business members are committed to a sustainable future of our region and are adding their voice to a growing number of bicycle-friendly businesses supporting WABA. Today meet Planet Bike.

Planet Bike was founded in 1996 and from the start they have dedicated their business to not only selling innovative products that make it easier and safer for people to ride bicycles but also supporting bicycle advocacy.  Because Planet Bike believes that the bicycle can improve the health of individuals, communities and the planet, they donate 25% of profits to causes that promote bicycle use.

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The well known Planet Bike light combo!

One of the coolest things about Planet Bike is that they are just 7 people strong. Every person working at Planet Bike believes in the mission of the company and they live it day in and day out. Planet Bike is most well know for their lights – having some of the brightest in the business. They also sell racks, grips, pumps, and everything in between. We are proud to call Planet Bike a Business Member!

Do you own, work for, or patronize a business that is a good candidate for our business membership? For just $300 or $800 per year, you can show your support for a bike-friendly region and WABA’s advocacy and get all sorts of perks, including your very own blog post! Details here.

Mayor Bowser Commits to Implementing Vision Zero

Last week, Mayor Muriel Bowser stated her committment to Vision Zero in the District of Columbia. The announcement came at last Friday’s press conference with Secretary Foxx of the U.S. Department of Transportation. Vision Zero is a system-wide effort to end traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries for all road users.

The Mayor also announced that she will be joining Secretary Foxx’s Mayors’ Challenge for Safer People and Safer Streets. The Secretary is challenging Mayors to take action to improve safety for people walking and biking. D.C. is a leader for improving street safety, and adopting a Vision Zero goal raises the bar.

On average more than 40 people die each year walking, biking or driving on our city streets. Traffic-related fatalities have declined in recent years, but crashes causing injury (rather than death) are on the rise, especially among those who walk or bike. Traffic deaths and injuries are preventable. Vision Zero makes it everyone’s job—from policymakers to traffic engineers to law enforcement officials—to prevent them completely.

“We are taking our first step towards realizing a ‘Vision Zero’ where no lives are lost on our streets or at our intersections,” says Mayor Bowser in an official press release.

Mayor Bowser committed to adopting a Vision Zero goal and strategy during her campaign. Two weeks ago, WABA sent a letter asking her to fulfill this promise. Friday’s announcement is an important first step.

We will track the progress of next steps over the coming weeks and months. The core element of Vision Zero is a commitment to end traffic fatalities and serious injuries within a specific amount of time. New York City committed to ending traffic deaths within 20 years. San Francisco’s goal is by 2024.

A clear and coordinated cross-governmental strategy will be required to meet this goal. The Mayor will need to pull together all relevant public agencies. Accountability is key. We expect regular updates detailing efforts undertaken, results and progress towards the goal.

A strong community values human life, and we should do our best to protect it. Vision Zero is a commitment to making our streets safer for everyone, including those who bike. We are very encouraged by Mayor Bowser’s first step toward this goal.

 

Safer Maryland bikeways get the green light

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Thanks to new guidelines, curb-protected or buffered bike lanes will be allowed on Maryland state roads. This change could ultimately make many roads much safer.

Eads Street in Arlington. This will now be permitted on Maryland’s state highways. Photo by the author.

The Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) released new policy and engineering guidelines in January. They will allow more innovative and protective bike infrastructure in many rapidly urbanizing suburbs such as College Park, where Route 1 is supposed to get a bike lane but needs one that’s safe alongside high-speed traffic.

Changes add space between cars and bikes and make intersections safer

Bike lane designs can now include extra buffering, such as striped and cross-hatched lane markings, to separate bike and car traffic. And while the new guidelines don’t mention the use of flexposts, which engineers and planners around the country often use for extra visibility and “soft protection” for buffered bike lanes, SHA also doesn’t forbid them. And that’s encouraging.

The new regulations will also allow bike lanes raised up between the height of the main roadway and the curb. Raised lanes further increase the separation of people biking from motor vehicle traffic, and help prevent people from driving or parking their cars in spaces that are for people on bikes.

The guidelines also introduce designs for “bike boxes,” which allow cyclists to wait in a visible location at the head of a line of traffic and make it easier and safer to turn. Other places have been using bike boxes for several years, but they haven’t been permissible on Maryland state roads until now.

All of these new approaches to protecting and separating bike lanes from traffic on busy or high-speed roads will be better than the bike lane designs SHA is currently using. For example, the photo below shows a newly-painted bike lane on Greenbelt Road near the Capital Beltway. Would you feel safe riding your bike in that lane? Would you want children or elderly people riding in it?

An unprotected bike lane on Route 193 in Greenbelt. Photo by the author.

This is a great step, but SHA’s work is far from finished

While we applaud SHA’s new guidelines, there are still some key problems with their overall bike lane design approach.

First, building bike lanes to fit the new guidelines is still not mandatory, making the guidelines somewhat limited in scope. Even though SHA policy now allows buffered and protected bike lanes, engineers are still allowed to build narrow unprotected lanes alongside high-speed or high-traffic state roads. Protected and buffered bike lanes should be the standard, not just an option, especially where separated sidepaths are not feasible.

Noticeably absent are designs for facilities such as two-way protected bikeways, protected intersection designs, and creative ways of accommodating transit adjacent to bike lanes—since people often ride bikes between buses and the curb, it’s crucial that transit riders have easy places to cross bike lanes to get to their buses or transit vehicles.

Protected bikeways are important because while SHA rules do require new roads to include bike lanes, the typical painted bike lanes are simply too narrow for the kinds of high-speed roads where they often appear. These roads frequently have lower speed limits than the speeds people really drive, meaning that a bike lane designed for a 30-mph street would be inadequate where people are really usually traveling 40, 45, or 50.

Finally, the new guidelines are incomplete in that they don’t include illustrations and criteria for additional bike lane and intersection designs, which are very common in other urban and semi-urban areas. Navigating intersections can be tricky for cyclists—they’re where the majority of collisions happen—so it’s very important to get their design right.

For people who want to ride their bikes safely in Maryland, the new state guidelines are a strong pedal-stroke in the right direction. We hope this is the beginning many positive changes coming from SHA to incorporate and implement state-of-the-art designs that will increase the safety of people riding bikes, especially for the more densely populated and urbanizing parts of the state.

Cross-posted at Greater Greater Washington

The Winners of the Washington Area Bicyclists’ Choice Awards!

2015 Washington Area Bicyclists Choice Awards

First, we would like to share the winners of our special WABA Awards:

The Advocate of the Year for 2014

Winner: Jim Durham, Chair of the Alexandria Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee

The Vision Zero Award

Winners: Bruce Deming and Cory Bilton, local attorneys who provided pro-bono legal assistance to WABA’s contributory negligence campaign

The Biking for All Award

Winners: Bayley Vanderpoel of Velocity Co-op and Katie Lupo of Gearin’ Up Bicycles

The Green Lanes Award

Winner: The Montgomery County T&E Committee

The Future Trails Award

Winner: REI

The Access to Justice Award

Winner: DC Councilmember David Grosso

 

Thank you to everyone who nominated and voted in the 2015 Washington Area Bicyclists’ Choice Awards. Now we would like to recognize and celebrate the winners of the Bicyclists’ Choice Awards:

Best New Bike Infrastructure in the District of Columbia in 2014:
Winner: M Street protected bike lane

Best New Bike Infrastructure in Maryland in 2014:
Winner: MARC train Bike Cars from DC to Baltimore

Best New Bike Infrastructure in Virginia in 2014:
Winner: King Street bike lanes in Alexandria, VA

Bike Friendliest Neighborhood or Business Improvement District
Winner: DowntownDC BID

Bike Friendlies Bar, Restaurant or Coffee Shop
Winner: District Taco, various locations in DC and VA

Bike Friendliest Developer or Property Manger
Winner: Nationals Park

Best Bike Shop
Winner: BicycleSPACE

Bike Friendliest School
Winners (tie): School Without Walls High School, DC and the Washington & Lee High School, Arlington, VA

Bike Friendliest College or University
Winner: University of Maryland at College Park

Best Shop Ride
Winner: BicycleSPACE Hills of Anacostia

Best Use of Biking Data
Winner: Bike Arlington’s Freezing Saddles (http://freezingsaddles.com/)

Best Media Coverage of Biking
Winner: Martin DiCaro for WAMU

Best Social Ride
Winner: BicycleSPACE’s 7th Street Social

Biggest Advocacy Win of 2014
Winner: Snow Removal on Arlington County Trails

Best Overall Trail or Bike Lane (anywhere in the region)
Winner: W&OD Trail

Pizza Party With The PAL Ambassadors, TONIGHT!

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Join us for our first Arlington PAL Ambassador Pizza Party tonight at BikeArlington’s Office. This is a great opportunity to meet other ambassadors. We’ll scheme, craft, and prepare for next week’s outreach event; our Happy Birthday PAL Block Party!

No pizza party would be complete without PIZZA and beverages! It’s free and will be a lot of fun.

Click here for more information and to RSVP.

Looking forward to seeing you there,
Pete Beers!

 

WABA’s working with BikeArlington to recruit a community of volunteers to inspire more Predictable, Alert, and Lawful road culture in Arlington County. Bike billboards, pizza nights, and block parties — all on your commute home. Click here for more information on the PAL Ambassadors and join us at our next event!

Introducing DC Ram Network – CSU Alumni Association, a WABA Business Member

WABA’s Business Members understand the importance of a community that bicycles. Their membership supports our advocacy, outreach and education. Our business members are committed to a sustainable future of our region and are adding their voice to a growing number of bicycle-friendly businesses supporting WABA. Today meet DC Ram Network – CSU Alumni Network.

Hailing from the biking utopia of Fort Collins, Colorado, the DC Ram Network loves their bikes. From fat tires (pun intended) to road bikes, D.C. and Fort Collins share an affinity for two-wheeled transport. In this spirit, the DC Ram Network is proud to be able to support WABA in the great work that they do.

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Members of the DC Ram Network at a recent event.

The D.C. Ram Network represents Colorado State University in the Washington, D.C. area, including Northern Virginia, and is the region’s official CSU Alumni Association group. Members of the DC Ram Network are involved with programs, services, and events that engage Colorado State alumni throughout the region, especially ones with a connection to our beloved home state. We have held fundraisers for Colorado flood victims, volunteered in the Capital Challenge Walk MS, and attended Honor Flight arrivals for veterans. We also have a lot of fun meeting up to watch and support CSU athletics. We are proud to call the DC Ram Network a WABA Business Member!

Do you own, work for, or patronize a business that is a good candidate for our business membership? For just $300 or $800 per year, you can show your support for a bike-friendly region and WABA’s advocacy and get all sorts of perks, including your very own blog post! Details here.

And the Nominees Are…..

2015 Washington Area Bicyclists Choice Awards

The Nominees for the 2015 Bicyclists’ Choice Awards have been revealed! The Nominees are:

Best New Bike Infrastructure in the District of Columbia in 2014:
Rhode Island Ave bridge (from Met Branch Trail to RI Ave Metro Station)
M Street protected bike lane
First Street NE protected bike lane

Best New Bike Infrastructure in Maryland in 2014:
MacArthur Boulevard repaving and bike path improvements
Woodglen Drive two-way protected bike lane in Montgomery County, MD
MARC train Bike Cars from DC to Baltimore
Prince George’s County Trolley Trail in Riverdale and Hyattsville, MD

Best New Bike Infrastructure in Virginia in 2014:
South Hayes Street protected bike lanes in Pentagon City/Arlington, VA
The Bikeometer in Rosslyn
King Street bike lanes in Alexandria, VA
South Eads Street protected bike lanes in Crystal City/Arlington, VA
Trail along Arlington Boulevard from Rolfe St to 10th

Bike Friendliest Neighborhood or Business Improvement District
NoMa BID
Crystal City BID
Downtown DC BID
Arlington, VA

Bike Friendlies Bar, Restaurant or Coffee Shop
Swings Coffee Roasters, Downtown DC
Big Bear Café, Bloomingdale, DC
Java Shack, Arlington, VA
District Taco, various locations in DC and VA

Bike Friendliest Developer or Property Manger
Potomac Yards
PN Hoffman (The Wharf at SW Waterfront)
Nationals Park
Flats at 130 in NoMa

Best Bike Shop
Proteus Bicycles
BicycleSPACE
Bikenetic
Spokes Etc.

Bike Friendliest School
School Without Walls High School, DC
The Children’s Garden preschool program in Arlington, VA
Washington & Lee High School, Arlington, VA

Bike Friendliest College or University
George Mason University
University of Maryland at College Park
George Washington University
Georgetown University

Best Shop Ride
BicycleSPACE Hills of Anacostia
Freshbikes Tuesday Night Ride
Proteus Pastry Ride
Bikenetic Sunday Ride

Best Use of Biking Data
Michael Schaede (MV Jantzten)’s Bikeshare Visualizions (like http://mvjantzen.com/tools/visualizer/)
Rosslyn Bikometer
Fastest Mode Map: (http://youarehere.cc/p/bestmode/washingtondc)
Freezing Saddles (http://freezingsaddles.com/)

Best Media Coverage of Biking
Gear Prudence for Washington City Paper
Martin DiCaro for WAMU
The Washington Post (multiple writers)

Best Social Ride
Kidical Mass (DC and Arlington)
Tweed Ride
DC Bike Party
BicycleSPACE’s 7th Street Social

Biggest Advocacy Win of 2014
Bike lanes on King Street in Alexandria
Passage of Virginia’s Three Foot Passing Law
Progress on Contributory Negligence in DC
Snow Removal on Arlington County Trails

Best Overall Trail or Bike Lane (anywhere in the region)
Mount Vernon Trail
15th Street protected bike lanes
Anacostia Tributary Trail System
W&OD Trail

Cast your vote for the winners here. Voting is intended for WABA Members. Not yet a member? Join today. Voting will close on Sunday, February 15th.

We hope you’ll join us on February 20th at the Washington Area Bicyclists’ Choice Awards where we’ll announce the winners at the awards party. Anyone is welcome to attend the party and admission is free! Beer will be provided courtesy of Port City Brewing Company for a $5 donation. RSVP for the party here.