Archive for September, 2010
Together with over 500 of our members and friends, WABA hosted the annual 50 States & 13 Colonies Ride on Saturday, September 25. With beautiful sunshine and warm temperatures to start the day off, a record-breaking 512 cyclists took to DC’s 50 state avenues and spent the day crisscrossing the District through all eight Wards.
The 50 States ride is uniquely DC and offers riders the chance to see parts of the city they’ve never experienced on bike before. From Alabama Ave. to Wyoming Ave., this ride has it all! The Grill from Ipanema served as this year’s post-ride happy hour where riders could swap stories of their ride and commiserate over the hills they’d conquered that day. Some comments we happened to overhear included ‘I had no idea DC had so many hills!’, ‘What were these guys thinking?’. It has also been nice to hear from folks who have participated in the ride year after year and are still experiencing new things along the route. With 50 streets to hit and 212 cues to follow, there is definitely a feeling of accomplishment upon finishing!
This ride would not have been possible without the generous support of this year’s sponsors including REI College Park, Giant Foods, Big Chair Coffee, BicycleSPACE, Revolution Cycles, City Bikes, the American University Cycling Team, Drink More Water, and the Grill from Ipanema. And also a big THANK YOU to all of the volunteers who helped WABA out at the registration area and rest stops along the way!
Thanks to everyone who came out and participated in the ride. It’s great to see so many people out in DC biking and enjoying the tour. We enjoyed putting the ride on and look forward to doing it all again next year!
Thursday night, September 23, the full harvest moon shined its beautiful light across DC’s night skies. To celebrate the full moon and the cooler fall temperatures WABA organized the Moonlight Ride at the newly opened Yards Park along the Anacostia River. With generous support from the Capitol Riverfront BID and Forest City, WABA built upon the momentum from our 2009 ride to make this year’s event bigger and better.
“But why limit the fun to just a bike ride?” we thought. So a few WABA staff and members started the evening off by watching the Washington Nationals defeat the Houston Astros at Nationals Park before joining the fun a few blocks away at Yards Park (4th and M St SE). Smokin’ Somethin’ BBQ was on-site to provide delicious sandwiches and side dishes to riders, while Capital Bikeshare and Capitol Hill Bikes were also on hand to meet and greet with our riders. WABA, with the assistance of Capitol Hill Bikes, ensured that every rider was well-lit and visible before heading off by providing the option to purchase Knog light sets along with ride registration.
Two hundred cyclists congregated at Yards Park to take part in the ride, heading west along P St. to Water Street SW before crossing the Case Bridge to Hains Point and Ohio Drive. The moon’s reflection on the Potomac River was a gorgeous sight as riders rode along Ohio Drive towards the stunningly lit Lincoln Memorial. After stopping at the Lincoln Memorial to cheer and howl at the moon, riders headed back east along the National Mall and back to the Yards Park.
The Moonlight Ride has quickly become a WABA-members favorite offering a nice change of pace to enjoy the full moon instead of typical rides starting in the early morning. WABA would like to thank the Capitol Riverfront BID and Forest City Washington for sponsoring this year’s ride and, of course thanks to everyone who came out to join us!
From the WABA Press Release:
Bicycle Crash Victim’s Mother and Washington Area Bicyclist Association Join to Seek Safer Roadways, Stronger Laws Protecting Cyclists
The Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) and Kenniss Henry, mother of fatally struck cyclist and former Senate candidate Natasha Pettigrew, will join to erect a “ghost bike” memorial near the intersection of Route 202 and Campus Way in Prince George’s County, Maryland. A ghost bike is an internationally recognized, somber memorial intended to mark the place in which a cyclist lost her life and to serve as a reminder to all roadway users of the need for attentiveness and due care.
WABA and Ms. Henry join in calling for improvements to both the laws and the roadway infrastructure in the state of Maryland, and in Prince George’s County in particular, that often fail to accommodate equally the needs of bicyclists as rightful roadway users. “Prince George’s County is many years behind its neighbors in the region in developing a comprehensive approach to bicycle planning,” states WABA Executive Director Shane Farthing, “and the result is a county that tops the state in roadway fatalities. We hope that this tragic death—combined with the many others that have occurred on its roadways— finally will convince the County to dedicate resources to a bicycle and pedestrian coordinator with a mandate to improve safety for vulnerable roadway users.”
WABA would like to remind cyclists to ride safely, ensure their visibility and predictability, and to follow all applicable laws, as well as to remind motorists of their responsibility to watch for cyclists, who have a legal right to share the road. “Operating a motor vehicle is the most dangerous activity most people will undertake in a given day,” says Farthing, “and drivers must recognize that danger and give due attention to their actions and surroundings. And the law must be amended to create consequences that force drivers to give due care to other roadway users, whether motorist, cyclist, or pedestrian.”
Members of the press and the public are invited to attend the ghost bike placement ceremony, scheduled for 10:30am, Friday, October 1 near the intersection of Route 202 and Campus Way in Prince George’s County.
An entire new fleet of WABA Education Department bikes was recently put into service and is ready for the new school year. The WABA youth bicycle safety education program is run in Maryland through a grant from the Maryland State Highway Administration. WABA coordinates and trains public school teachers and staff to provide bicycle safety education at their schools. Annually, the program reaches over 5,000 students in the Washington, DC/Baltimore region. Earlier this year, the trailers were vandalized and the entire fleet of bikes was stolen. After some repairs and upgrades to better secure the trailer, WABA has put 20 new bikes into service. The fleet of mostly Redline Roam BMX bikes was purchased with generous support from Oasis Bike Works in Fairfax, VA.
It’s time to celebrate the one week anniversary of Capital Bikeshare system. To much fanfare, the largest regional bikesharing system in the North America launched with over 40 stations and 400 bicycles. The current online station count is over 60 as of September 27th. I’ve seen more CaBi’s on the road in the past week than I’ve seen SmartBikes in the past 6-12 months. As with any new system, there have been some minor hiccups but generally it has been a very successful start!
Now that we are home to the largest regional bikesharing system, it seems appropriate to share a few tips as we all familiarize ourselves with CaBi. The following tips are not in order of importance and it is by no means a complete list. They are just a few helpful thoughts about CaBi.
- Purchase the annual membership: Capital Bikeshare is still offering the promotional rate of $50 for an annual membership and it’s a real steal. Founding members receive a limited addition key fob and a American Appeal CaBi t-shirt. At just over $4 per month, its less than the cost of two trips on the metro!
- Stay up-to-date: The Capital Bikeshare website displays in realtime (updated every 5 minutes or so) the number of bikes and available docking spots at all in-service stations. Check the station your starting from and the station you’ll be ending your trip at. Nothing is worse than riding up to a full station of bikes or coming out of the grocery store to an empty station. The kiosks will inform you of nearby stations with available bikes & docks. The free app Spotcycle can be downloaded to your iPhone, BlackBerry or Android-based cellphone. Spotcycle provides users with a map of stations and bike information.
- Time yourself: Included with your daily, monthly or annual membership are unlimited free 30 minute rides. After the initial half-hour, the fee meter starts running. Minutes 31 – 60 will only set you back $1.50 but rates start climbing significantly after that. Save yourself some money and set a countdown timer on your watch or phone. Start the clock at 25 minutes which gives you a few minutes of buffer on the end to find the station you’re traveling to and dock the bike.
- Educate yourself: This is a great chance to review rules of the road, bike laws and the safest way to ride a bicycle in traffic. We offer a wide range of safety education classes for beginning riders all the way up to advanced riders. And if you’ve been riding for year, it never hurts to brush up as you’ll be a role model to new riders on the road.
- Remember your helmet: For commuters using the system on a regular basis, getting in the habit of carrying around a helmet will be the norm. A quick glance around the grocery store or local eatery, you’ll see someone toting around a bike helmet. What’s tricky are the unplanned trips on a CaBi. An unplanned afternoon ride home after a long stressful work day or a quick trip to a meeting across town.
Incorporating bikesharing into your daily routine will take some planning at the outset. However, you’ll quickly begin to see stations close to you places you go and the time savings in travel time especially for you short trips. Please share your own personal tips for using the system and, as always, enjoy the ride!
As October 1 approaches and the numerous bicycle-related laws passed by the 2010 Maryland General Assembly and signed into law by Governor O’Malley are set to take effect, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on those bike advocacy successes and, more importantly, to ensure that cyclists are aware of the changes.
1. Three Foot Passing
Maryland law now requires motorists to “pass safely at a distance of not less than three feet” when overtaking a cyclist unless: (a) the cyclist is not riding on the right or in the bike lane/shoulder as required by § 21-1205, or (b) the roadway is too narrow to allow three feet. Previously, it was widely assumed that the duty to pass safely meant three feet, but the new law clarifies that it does mean three feet in some situations and does not mean three feet in others. With this law, it becomes more important to “take the lane” whenever it is too narrow to safely share side-by-side, because otherwise you do not have the legal right to the 3-foot buffer.
2. Requirement to Ride in the Shoulder Repealed
As of October 1, cyclists will no longer be required to ride in the shoulder where a smooth shoulder is provided and there is no bike lane. However, Maryland remains one of only five states to require that cyclists ride in the bike lane where provided. Removal of the shoulder-riding requirement is a significant step forward, but further advocacy is needed on the requirement to ride in a provided bike lane.
3. Crosswalks “Rules of the Road”
The change in law also attempted to clarify some of the rights of cyclists in crosswalks–but many of those rights are still unclear.
- In jurisdictions where the local government has legalized riding on sidewalks (most of Montgomery County other than Gaithersburg) the bill gives cyclists the right to ride in any crosswalk. Moreover, at a signalized intersections, cyclists legally in the crosswalk now have the same right of way as pedestrians over cars with a green signal, or a car turning right on red.
- The bill did not give cyclists the same rights of way as pedestrians in crosswalks without a signal.
- In jurisdictions where riding on the sidewalk is illegal (most of Maryland including most of Prince Georges County), the bill did not provide for a right to ride in crosswalks.
4. Balanced Funding for Cycling & Walking
The law requires that the Maryland Department of Transportation ensure an appropriate balance of funding for retrofitting existing facilities for cyclists and pedestrians alongside funding for new highway construction, as well as requiring “increased emphasis” on “increas[ing] accessibility for the greatest number of pedestrians and bicycle riders” in transit-oriented areas.
5. Sidewalk and Bicycle Path Construction
This amendment to the existing law requiring the state to fund bicycle pathway construction or reconstruction as part of a project (if included in the project) requires the state to give higher funding priority to sidewalk or bicycle pathway construction projects where their absence is “a substantial public safety risk or significant impediment to pedestrian access.”
Together, these changes to Maryland law represent an elevation of cycling as a means of transportation in Maryland. Credit is due to One Less Car, the Baltimore Bicycling Club, and the Maryland advocates and legislators who pushed these changes. We look forward to seeing the improvements, both on the roadways and in the budgets, starting October 1.
This morning at Interbike in Las Vegas, the League of American Bicyclists awarded WABA a Gold Bike Friendly Business award. These awards are given out twice per year, and the Fall 2010 award class includes one platinum, three golds, twenty-seven silvers and thirty-one bronzes. We’re extremely proud to be recognized by the League for all of our hard work and we want to congratulate all the other awardees–especially our fellow DC-area recipients!
The Bike Friendly Business awards program “recognizes employers’ efforts to encourage a more bicycle friendly atmosphere for employees and customers” and “honors innovative bike-friendly efforts and provides technical assistance and information to help companies and organizations become even better for bicyclists.” We’re certainly honored to have been awarded the Gold level for our first time applying, but you can be sure that we won’t rest until we’ve earned Platinum!
Hundreds of shiny new red bikes stood in neat rows at Tingey Plaza this morning for the eagerly anticipated launch of Capital Bikeshare, the District’s new and expanded bicycle sharing program. The country’s first regional bikeshare system–it includes stations in both the District of Columbia and Arlington County, VA–will also be its largest, eventually encompassing over 1,000 bikes at 114 stations. Today, bike sharing enthusiasts in red and black t-shirts (including a handful of WABA staffers) led teams of volunteers mounted on the comfortable bikes from the plaza behind the US DOT building to newly installed bikeshare stations throughout the city. The system went live this morning with some 40 stations and around 400 bikes, but the team at Capital Bikeshare plans to have the entire network up and running by the end of October.
The launch event included enthusiastic remarks from DC Mayor Adrian Fenty, DDOT Director Gabe Klein, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Chairman Jay Fisette of the Arlington County Board, Assistant Secretary Polly Trottenberg for Transportation Policy at the U.S. Department of Transportation and Roger Plamondon, Chairman of the Board for the Public Bike System Company.
How Capital Bikeshare works:
- Join Capital Bikeshare – For daily memberships ($5), pay at the Bikeshare kiosk with any major credit card. For monthly($25)/annual($75) memberships, join online at capitalbikeshare.com
- For a limited time, annual memberships are just $50 and the first 2000 members receive a “founder’s” Capital Bikeshare t-shirt and a limited edition key fob to unlock the bikes.
- Find a bike – You can check out the map online, use the app (for iPhone, Android or Blackberry) or simply walk down to the station and see if there are bikes there.
- Check it out – For daily members, enter the code you got when you purchased your membership. For monthly/annual members, insert your key fob next to the bike you want to check out.
- Wait for the light to turn green…
- And start riding!
What Capital Bikeshare costs:
- The first 30 minutes are always free, and you get unlimited trips for your membership period! After 30 minutes, pricing works like this:
- 31-60 minutes – $1.50
- 61-90 minutes – $3.00
- 90+ minutes – $6.00 per half hour
Learn more about Capital Bikeshare at www.capitalbikeshare.com.
September is a busy month for WABA with students going back to school, the weather cooling off for biking, and many neighborhood and street fairs. We need help at many area events and bike valets. If you are new to volunteering with WABA, we’ll teach you everything you need to know. Volunteering with WABA is a great way to meet other area bicyclists and help support better bicycling. Below is a list of upcoming events. A complete list of volunteer opportunities can be found on the new WABA website’s volunteer page.
9/12 – Adams Morgan Day Info. Booth
9/12 - Adams Morgan Day Valet
9/23 - Moonlight Ride
9/25 – 50 States / 13 Colonies Ride
10/3 - Takoma Park Street Festival
Sign up to volunteer by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 202-518-0524 x202
The ribbon was cut this morning on The Yards Park on the Anacostia River. The speeches from District and Forest City representatives were excellent, reiterating a commitment to revitalizing the Anacostia River.
But the speeches were overshadowed (as the speakers likely hoped) by the park itself and the amazing views of the river. It’s rare that a project of this scale comes together to look as good as the renderings. Here, they’ve done it. I can’t wait to see the light tower in action.
As a reminder, WABA’s 2010 Moonlight Ride–graciously sponsored by Forest City and the Capitol Riverfront BID–will be held at the Yards Park on September 23. Register for the ride and come out to see the Yards Park for yourself. (You also have the option to reserve tickets to the afternoon’s Nationals-Astros game.) This is a great chance way to see and learn about this rapidly transforming part of the District.