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What to Do In the Event of a Crash


Bicycle crashes are scary, disorienting events. Nobody wants to think about being involved in a crash, but it’s important to know what to do in case of emergency. Hopefully you will never have to experience this first-hand, but you may be able to help out your fellow bicyclists with your level-headed understanding of what to do in the situation.

This Thursday, April 17, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the MLK Library, join WABA and local attorney Bruce Deming for a roundtable presentation on important information bicyclists should know regarding bike crashes. We’ll cover steps to take now that can improve the outcome for you following a crash and how WABA is working to reduce the number of bike crashes through improving street infrastructure, street-level police education, and increasing crash data. Register here.

If you’re unable to attend the seminar, read below the jump for some tools to prevent, prepare for, and deal with an emergency situation:

At the Scene
You’ve been in a crash. Now what?

Try not to panic.

Make sure you are safe to move or stay where you are and wait for paramedics. If there is any doubt, err on the side of caution.

Call the police. Call 911. Make sure the police make a report. If you can’t call, ask someone nearby to call for you. This step is imperative. Without a police report, there is no record of the incident. Even if you don’t think there is any damage, this step cannot be overlooked.

Get contact information for any witnesses. Do not assume the police are doing this for you as they take the report. Make sure you are able to get in touch later with anyone who saw what happened.

Take photos of everything, including the vehicle involved, license plate, your bicycle, any property damage, the scene of the incident, etc.>

Collect the following information:

  • Driver’s Name
  • Driver’s License number
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Make and Model of Car
  • License Plate #
  • Insurance Company
  • Date, Time, Location of Accident

What if the driver flees the scene or doesn’t stop? A driver who is involved in an accident and feels the scene has committed a serious legal offense. Try to get the vehicle license plate number and state issued in.

Get home safely. Remember that backup plan? Now is the time to use it. Don’t attempt to ride a damaged bicycle or ride if you’re hurt.

After the Crash
You’re off the road. You’re home safe. What are the next steps?

Seek medical attention.

Write it down. While the crash is fresh in your memory, write down as many details about the event as possible.

Pick up a copy of the police report.

Take your bicycle to a shop for inspection and repair.

Document all expenses from the crash. Keep a log of any and all expenses incurred due to the crash. Life changes like taking the bus instead of riding your bike to work, damage to your clothes, personal property, bike, stuff in your backpack, time off work, etc. The WABA Crash Tracker App includes an expense tracker for this purpose. Use it.

Complete the WABA Crash Tracker. We use this data to work on both infrastructure and law enforcement changes. Fill out the Crash Tracker form here.

Ways You Can Attempt to Prevent Crashes
Avoid crashes and problems by riding safely.

Take a City Cycling class. Most bicycle crash incidents result from the bicyclist losing control of their bicycle, hitting debris or other hazards, or running into fixed objects, and not with motorists. Learn avoidance maneuvers, practice control drills, and gain skills needed to avoid dangerous situations at one of WABA’s City Cycling Classes.

Download the WABA Crash App. Available for both iPhone and Android users.

Consider your riding style, confidence level, and route. Are there adjustments or improvements you could make to decrease your risk of a crash?

Follow the law. Following the law makes you more predictable. It is also important to your ability to recover damages suffered in a crash. Due to contributory negligence, a bicyclist can get stuck with 100% of his or her medical bills and damages from a crash if even only 1% at fault for the crash–and failure to follow the law is evidence of fault.

At the Scene: Witness Edition
Not involved in the incident, but saw it happen? Here’s what to do:

Stay at the scene.

Call 911.

Give your name and contact information to those involved in the crash and let them know you are a witness.

Offer to help take down the above information (or do it yourself) for the victim.

We hope this overview helps to prepare you for the unlikely event that you are involved in a crash. Please consider joining us tomorrow evening at MLK Library from 6:30-8:30 p.m. for our crash seminar.

April Trailer Challenge: Halfway There!

ATC Week 2

To kickoff the spring season, the Bike Ambassadors started a month-long project: the April Trailer Challenge! We’re now halfway through the month and halfway through the challenge. During the second week of the challenge, the trailer made it to all eight wards of D.C.

ATC Week 2

For a closer look at this week’s ride map, follow the WABA Trailer on Strava.

This week, our volunteers rode 160 miles with the trailer in tow, bringing our monthly total up to 226 miles! Our goal for the entire month is 500 trailer team miles, and we’re right on track to reach that.

The ATC is a campaign to message WABA’s offerings of bike education, outreach, and advocacy to a broader audience in a fun way! Our goal for the month of April is to get the Bike Ambassador trailers around as much of the city as possible. We’re aiming for 500 trailer team miles in just 30 days.

Have you seen our trailer? You can participate in the April Trailer Challenge! Take a photo and post it on social media. Tag us @wabadc using #bikeambassador (on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook) and you’ll be entered to win a free bike tune-up.

Check out all the photos from the April Trailer Challenge!

For more information, contact the D.C. Bike Ambassador Program Coordinator Megan McCarty at megan.mccarty@waba.org.

See you in the bike lanes in April, and see more Trailer Challenge photos below the jump: Read the rest of this entry »

Vasa Ride 2014, in Photos

Vasa Ride 2014

More than 500 WABA members donned hi-vis smiles on Sat., March 22nd for a sold-out Vasa Ride. Participants enjoyed the ride, the hills (not so much), the warm-ish weather, the sunshine, and the always delicious post-ride blueberry soup inside the House of Sweden.

The Vasa Ride is named as a tribute to Sweden’s legendary Vasaloppet, the world’s longest running cross-country ski race. The Vasaloppet commemorates the trial of a renegade Swedish king who, in the 16th century, led the rebellion to free the country after a long pursuit on skis.

For nearly a century, blåbärssopp—warm blueberry soup—has been served during the Vasaloppet to keep riders warm. Many thanks to our gracious hosts the House of Sweden and the Swedish Embassy for their annual partnership with the Vasa Ride for serving up the much-loved blåbärssopp.

The Vasa Ride brings together riders from D.C., Maryland and Virginia and helps to support WABA’s work. When people participate in our rides, fundraisers, parties, and outreach events, they fuel WABA’s mission to make riding a bike safer and more accessible for all. Read the rest of this entry »

Join Us for Our Public Everyday Biking Seminars

April Trailer Challenge

This spring, we’re launching our Everyday Biking seminar program for those who want to learn more about urban biking. The Everyday Biking Seminars are launching just in time for Bike to Work Day!

Everyday Biking seminars are typically presented to local offices and workplaces, but we are making a few available to the public. Join us if you are interested in learning the basics on how to safely and easily fit biking into your daily life. Both events are free and open to all. If you’re an everyday biking pro, we encourage you to pass this along to your friends!

We’ll provide tips on:

  • Making sure your bike is in good working order
  • Planning a good route
  • Understanding safe riding principles and rules of the road and trail
  • Carrying your stuff, and more

After the presentation, WABA’s trained staff will answer questions, address concerns, and help resolve any other issues that may be keeping you from bicycling.

There are two upcoming public Everyday Biking seminars:

Mon., April 14
6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Northeast Public Library, 330 7th St NE, Washington, D.C. 20002
Sign up to attend here, or just show up!

Thurs., April 24
6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
WABA Office, 2599 Ontario Road NW, Washington, D.C. 20009
Sign up to attend here, or just show up!

This Week in Bike Reads

WABA Ambassadors Megan and Pete

A business publication notices that bicycles mean business. (It’s based in Oregon, but still!)

The Pennsylvania Avenue zebras are D.C.’s best nonfunctional road art.

DDOT is installing a curbed bike lane along 1st Street NE.

And, the M Street cycletrack should be finished in a week or two.

Complete this survey about Florida Avenue NE on Tues., April 15 if you’d like to vocalize the need for bike accommodations. You can read more about the options for Florida Avenue NE that we think are good for cyclists here.

Have you registered for Bike to Work Day yet?

Photo by Flickr user Joe Flood. Join our Flickr pool and register for Bike to Work Day, seriously!

Contraflow Bike Lanes Coming to G and I Streets NE


Freshly painted contraflow bike lane on G Street NE

Now that winter is mostly behind us, DDOT can begin painting new bike lanes. In February, we shared the proposed bike lane installation plan for 2014. Among the planned lanes were new contraflow bikes lanes on G and I streets NE from 2nd Street NE to Maryland/Florida Ave NE. Now that it’s warm enough to stripe pavement markings, DDOT has gotten installation of these lanes underway.

Bike lanes throughout the city are generally 5 feet wide and placed on the far right of the street, next to on-street parking. People riding bikes in the lanes travel in the same direction as the cars to the left. Contraflow bike lanes allow bicyclists to ride in the opposite direction of traffic.

G and I streets are narrow one-way streets on Capitol Hill that see low volumes of traffic. After community outreach with the two affected ANCs, the decision was made to install long contraflow lanes on the streets. (See the considered alternatives in a Greater Greater Washington blog post.) Shared lane markings (sharrows) are being installed in the center of travel lane for bicyclists traveling in the direction of traffic. The contraflow lanes are being placed on the far left side of the street and will be striped with a double yellow line. Bicyclists traveling in the opposite direction of traffic will use the 5-foot wide contraflow lane. The project also includes signs warning drivers that bicyclists are using the one-way streets in two directions.

Generally, contraflow lanes are installed with a painted buffer or are physically separated from traffic. There is a one block example of a parking-buffered contraflow lane on the 200 block of R Street NE near the Met Branch Trail. G and I streets are too narrow to float parking away from the curb and place the buffered contraflow in that space. Neighbors objected to losing parking to provide the necessary space for buffered contraflow lanes.


gi2iTypical blocks of G & I Streets NE with sharrows and 5 foot contraflow bikes lanes. 

G and I streets were chosen for improvements to help provide an additional route for bicyclists traveling east and west in the H Street NE corridor. The streetcar tracks on H Street NE have caused a large number of crashes, including some very serious injuries, for bicyclists. Adding contraflow bike lanes to G and I streets creates two new east-west routes along the H St corridor.

Unfortunately, DDOT began installation of traffic signs related to the contraflow lanes back in December; this confused drivers and bicyclists alike. The yellow warning signs and small stop signs were installed four months ago, but the pavement markings didn’t begin to go in until last week. DDOT should have kept the signs covered until the bike lanes were painted. An especially harsh winter pushed the installation later expected, but the poor timing of the sign installation demonstrates that DDOT needs to plan better for construction of bike facilities.

DDOT will monitor the bicycling traffic and traffic operation on G and I streets. Its engineers will assess the contraflow bike lanes’ effectiveness and safety. Learn more about the project from DDOT. In a city with many narrow one-way streets, contraflow bike lanes are another tool for connecting the bicycle network where the conditions are just right.

While hard to know for sure, we believe the contraflow lanes on G and I streets are the longest continuous contraflow bike lanes in the country. It’s great to see them finally be installed, especially as the busy spring bike season begins.

We’re Hiring! Be Our Communications Coordinator

2012 Video Ride

You could, among other things, tweet about happenings like this.

The Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) seeks a Communications Coordinator to tell the story of our advocacy, outreach, education, and events programming. Much of the work of building a better region for bicycling occurs in meeting rooms and classrooms, on the bike lanes and trails, and in the office—reading laws, regulations, and plans. 

The job of the Communications Coordinator is to share that work with WABA members and supporters, key decision-makers and elected officials, potential funders of future programming, and the general public.

You must love biking, share WABA’s vision for better biking in the region, and enjoy a fast-paced environment in which strong  and strategic communication content is key to organizational success and is a daily (sometimes hourly) need.

See the job description below the jump, and apply for the job here. Read the rest of this entry »

National Park Service Responds to Norton’s Request About Rock Creek Park Trail

Rock Creek Park Trail-6

As reported by DCist yesterday, the National Park Service responded to Eleanor Holmes Norton’s request for a progress report on the Rock Creek Park Trail.

Per DCist:

In a letter Norton released today, Tara Morrison, Superintendent of Rock Creek Park, says an Environmental Assessment (EA) is currently with the Federal Highway Administration for approval. A Finding of No Significant Impact (or, delightfully, FONSI) document is expected to be signed by FHWA in the “near future” and NPS is currently drafting their own, which will also be reviewed by the District Department of Transportation.

“Construction could begin on the project as early as Fiscal Year 2015,” the letter states.

While any movement is welcome news, Greg Billing from the Washington Area Bicyclist Association says the pace thus far has been frustrating.

Read NPS’ full response here and the press release from Norton’s office below the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

April Trailer Challenge: Week 1

April Trailer Challenge - Week 1

To kickoff the spring season, the Bike Ambassadors started a month-long project: the April Trailer Challenge! For our inaugural week, we had 12 volunteers participate for a total of 65.8 trailer team miles.

The ATC is a campaign to message WABA’s offerings of bike education, outreach, and advocacy to a broader audience in a fun way! Our goal for the month of April is to get the Bike Ambassador trailers around as much of the city as possible. We’re aiming for 500 trailer team miles in just 30 days.

To get things started, we trained volunteer Bike Ambassadors to pull the rolling billboards through the streets of Adams Morgan, near WABA HQ. Each ambassador got a chance to learn the basics and ride with the team at Monday’s kickoff event.

During the first week of the challenge, the trailer made it to all four quadrants of D.C., including special pitstops at Nationals’ Opening Day, five embassies, the downtown cycletracks, and everywhere in between! Next week, we’re aiming to bring the trailer to all eight wards.

April Trailer Challenge - Week 1

Have you seen our trailer? You can participate in the April Trailer Challenge! Take a photo and post it on social media. Tag us @wabadc using #bikeambassador (on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook) and you’ll be entered to win a free bike tune-up.

Check out all the photos from the April Trailer Challenge!

For more information, contact the D.C. Bike Ambassador Program Coordinator Megan McCarty at megan.mccarty@waba.org. See you in the bike lanes in April!

April Trailer Challenge - Week 1

April Trailer Challenge - Week 1

April Trailer Challenge

April Trailer Challenge - Week 1

DDOT Proposes Bike Improvements for Florida Avenue NE

florida-ave-ne-alt-3On Thurs.,  April 3, the District Department of Transportation held its third and final meeting for the Florida Avenue NE Multi-Modal Study. After a rash of crashes involving pedestrians and bicyclists, the surrounding neighborhoods called on DDOT to make safety improvements that would slow the speeds of drivers, upgrade sidewalks, and add bicycling facilities.

The area of study is Florida Avenue NE from New York Avenue NE to 14th Street NE. Also being considered for improvements are 6th Street NE from K Street to Penn Avenue in Florida Market, and West Virginia Avenue NE north from Florida Avenue alongside Galludet University. Greater Greater Washington has an in-depth discussion of the proposed alternatives, which area also available on the project website.

There are three major alternatives (and a few sub-alternatives) for Florida Avenue NE. Determining what is the most bicycle-friendly option is a bit of a challenge at first glance. All alternatives include wider sidewalks, additional crosswalks, and more street trees. We have examined the all of the proposed alternatives and have concluded that the following elements are the best for bicyclists:

Florida Avenue NE

  • Alternative 3 with buffered bike lanes from 3rd Street NE to 6th Street NE
  • Alternative 3A with 5-foot bikes lanes from 6th Street NE to West Virginia Avenue
  • Alternative 3 with 5-foot bike lanes from West Virginia Avenue to 14th Street NE

6th Street NE

  • Alternative 2 with cycletracks north of Florida Avenue NE and bikes lanes to the south

West Virginia Avenue NE

  • Alternative 2 with bike lanes north of Florida Avenue NE

This is a planning study. It will lead to design work, engineering, and, finally, construction. Currently, DDOT has proposed painted buffered bike lanes and cycletracks throughout these alternatives. Painted lanes were successful in demonstrating cycletracks in D.C. would attract new riders by providing a safer and more comfortable place to ride. Now is the time to build permanent, protected bike lane lanes with curbs, concrete, and planted buffers.

DDOT is accepting feedback through an online survey. The deadline for completing the survey is next Tuesday, April 15. Submit your comments and support for a safer and more bikeable Florida Avenue NE.

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