WABA Offering Confident City Cycling Classes in the Greater Washington Area for Spring 2011

In keeping with its mission to promote safe bicycling throughout the Washington region, the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) is pleased to announce that it has scheduled a series of Confident City Cycling (CCC) and Learn to Ride (L2R) classes. A non-refundable $10 registration fee, plus additional fees may apply. These classes are designed to provide cyclists with the skills they need incorporate bicycling into their daily routines, on city streets for errands, commuting, and fun. Several classes, with bikes provided by Capital Bikeshare, are offered free for DC’s Ward 7 and 8 residents as part of WABA’s new outreach initiative.

WABA offers several types of CCC classes: CCC1 is a 2 hour basic skills class and CCC2 is a 4 hour vehicular cycling and avoidance maneuver class. Both types of class involve an on-line course and on-bike drills. In addition to these, WABA also offers a 3 hour L2R class for non-riding adults who want to learn how.

CCC1 (2 hr.) covers basic bicycling information and on-bike skills such as: bicycle selection, fit, inspection, gearing, cadence, clothing, accessories, and bike handling basics like starting and stopping, riding straight, scanning and signaling. Half of this class will be an on-line course and half will be on-bike practicing bike handling skills. Participants must bring their own bikes, helmets, and water. Participants will be required to sign liability waivers. This class is a great way to get reacquainted with your bike after a long winter.

CCC2 (4 hr.) Covers more advanced cycling techniques such as: vehicular cycling principles, roadway positioning, lane changes, turns and parking lot drills to learn avoidance maneuvers. Half of this class will be an on-line course and half will be on-bike practicing avoidance maneuvers and finally a supervised group ride on open streets with motorized traffic. CCC1 is a prerequisite for new or beginning riders. Participants must bring their own bikes, helmets, and water. Clipless/SPD shoes/pedals are not recommended for this class. Participants will be required to sign liability waivers. Even veteran commuters learn some new tricks in this comprehensive class.

L2R (3 hr.) is the entry class to bicycling. This class is designed for adults who have never learned to ride a bicycle. We will employ a special technique for teaching balance, steering, starting, stopping and pedaling. We use a technique that is very successful and use friendly and encouraging trained instructors. Bikes and helmets provided.

“As casual cyclists contemplate taking the next step to using their bikes on city streets alongside motorized traffic, this class can provide much-needed help. We hope you will enjoy getting to class by bike and transit, and discovering the city’s diverse system of Libraries and Recreation Centers at the same time” says Glen Harrison, WABA’s Director of the Safety Education Programs.

The Confident City Cycling Classes are offered on the following dates:

Class

Date

Start Time

End Time

Location

Fee

CCC 1

3/31/11

6:00 PM

8:00 pm

WABA Office, 2599 Ontario Rd. NW, Washington, DC

$25 non-members

$15 members

CCC 1

4/16/11

1:00 PM

3:00 PM

Deanwood RC, 1350 49th Street, NE, Washington, DC

Bikes provided by Capital Bikeshare

For Ward 7 & 8 residents only

L2R

4/30/11

2:00 PM

6:00 PM

Dorothy I. Height/Benning PL, 3935 Benning Rd. NE, Washington, DC. Bikes provided by Capital Bikeshare

For Ward 7 & 8 residents only

L2R

5/7/11

1:00pm

4:00pm

Anacostia Library, 1800 Good Hope Road, SE, Washington, DC. Bikes provided by Capital Bikeshare

For Ward 7 & 8 residents only

CCC 2

5/14/11

1:00pm

5:00pm

Turkey Thicket Recreation Center, 1100 Michigan Avenue, NE, Washington, DC.

$65 non-members

$55 members

L2R

5/21/11

1:00pm

4:00pm

Bike and Roll, 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC

$75 non-members

$65 members

CCC 1

4/28/11

6:00 PM

8:00 pm

Jefferson-Houston Elementary, 1501 Cameron St., Alexandria, VA

$10 registration

CCC 1

5/26/11

6:30 PM

8:30 PM

Mt. Vernon Recreation Center (Nicholas A. Colasanto Center), 2704 Mount Vernon Ave, Alexandria, VA

$10 registration

For more information and on-line registration, please visit http://www.waba.org/education/calendar.php. To register by phone please call 202-518-0524 (x207 or x212).

Staff Contact: Glen Harrison glen@waba.org, phone for press and for general public 202-518-0524, Bicycle Education Program Director, Washington Area Bicyclist Association.

WABA Launches Crash Tracking Tool

Last month we attended the DC Council oversight hearing on pedestrian and bicycle enforcement, and needless to say, we learned a lot. But what stood out for us was that there was so much more that we needed to know–about how and where bike crashes happened in the region and more detailed information about the circumstances both during and after the crash.

So we’ve developed a crash report form that will enable us to gather and collate crash data that either isn’t captured by official methods or is difficult for WABA–as an outside organization–to obtain. But we still can’t get anywhere without your help.

If you’ve been in a bicycle crash with a motor vehicle in the past five years (any time on or after January 1, 2006), please consider taking a few moments and filling out our crash report form. We need this data to make a case for better laws and more effective traffic enforcement in the region, and we need to be prepared with facts and data. Please help us out.

When WABA and AAA Support the Same Roadway Bill, Who is Objecting?

AAA With WABA Vehicular Manslaughter Release

No one is on the record as opposed to the bill. But time is running short, and we need the support of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, chaired by Sen. Frosh of Montgomery County, District 16.

If you are a resident of District 16, please take a moment to call the Senator’s office at 301.858.3124 to express your support for HB 363.

If you are unable to make a call or are resident of another Maryland senatorial district, please CLICK HERE to send an email to your senator to express your support.

Have You Been in a Crash & Denied Recovery?

If so, we need your story.

We are looking for stories of cyclists and pedestrians who were involved in crashes, but were unable to recover damages for their injuries or property damage because they were found at-fault.

We need stories from the throughout the region, so please let us know if this happened to you, and forward this request to your friends who have been in crashes.

DC, Maryland, and Virginia are three of the last jurisdictions retaining a liability standard that allows blaming the victim for his or her injuries and denying any recovery if any fault can be attributed to that victim.

We want to begin chipping away at that standard and making the roadways fairer, where those at fault must pay a fair percentage for the harm they cause.  But we need the real, concrete stories to make the case.

To tell us your story leave a comment, email us at advocacy@waba.org, or call us at 202.518.0524.

A Reason to Ride: Climate Rider Mary Tucker Explains Why She is Riding for WABA and Climate Change

Brita Climate Ride NYC-DC May 13-17, 2011

Climate Ride NYC-DC (May 13-17, 2011) is quickly filling up but there’s still a chance to join the ride.  It’s down to the final 15 spots for the NYC-DC ride.   If you’ve been on the fence, Mary Tucker, devoted member and inspiring rider has offered her story below to motivate and inspire.

I attended college and lived in Washington DC for 17 years before leaving in 1996 to continue my career in Los Angeles. I was always a recreational cyclist and missed the beautiful trails Washington offered. My career led me to Amsterdam, NL where I not only deepened my love of recreational cycling but also was introduced to the practicality of cycling as transportation. I vowed upon return to the US I would continue to enjoy cycling while replacing the use of my car (or at least minimizing it) as best I could in a city that engaged in active support of the like-minded. To my delight I returned to Washington DC to find a vibrant city with a growing cyclist community, commuting to and from work, running errands, using bike lanes (having bike lanes!), filling bike shops. I’m very proud of DC for taking bicycling into consideration when planning city improvements.

Bicycling is among the most sustainable activity we can do.  More education and outreach is necessary to promote cycling as a mechanism of change to  make the air we breath cleaner, reduce  C02 emissions and minimizing the blanket effect around our world.  That’s why I’ve joined the Climate Ride in May – to show my support of cycling as a transportation choice and an environmental solution.   I’ve chosen WABA as my sole benefactor of this ride because WABA cares about Washington DC and the proliferation of cycling as a lifestyle.  WABA actively engages communities around the region with outreach programs not only introducing the benefits of cycling but inspiring and educating responsible cycling. I want to do my part to help WABA with any funding necessary to keep this worthy effort going.

Mary Tucker’s personal fund raising page.

According to a recent email, the Climate Ride is ahead of schedule for registration (nice!), so be sure to secure your spot ASAP!   This might be the most important thing you will do all year and for future generations. Please join the one and only charitable ride to support sustainable solutions and better bicycling!

Apoyo a la ley 363

La ley en vigencia no castiga a conductores que matan a alguien con su vehículo.  Esta ley está bajo revisión en este momento y ya a sido aprobada por la Cámara de representantes. Falta que la ley estableciendo como un Crimen de Homicidio a la persona que por manejar su vehículo en una manera negligente mata a una persona sea aprobada por el Senado. Para tener justicia en los condados de Prince George,  Montgomery y el estado de Maryland es necesario que la propuesta de ley sea aprobada por el Senado.    La propuesta de ley de la Cámara de Representantes 363 (Establece como un crimen de Homicidio Involuntario por causar la muerte con un vehículo a un peatón o ciclista a la persona que se compruebe que estaba manejando su vehículo en una forma negligente.).  Por favor llame a su Senador solicitando la aprobación.  Los Senadors son;  Senador Ramírez (301-858-3745 and 1-800-492-7122 x3745) o Senador Raskin (301- 858-3634 and 1-800-492-7122 x3634). Pídales que voten a favor del el proyecto del ley 363. Si no están presentes hablé con el personal de la oficina, eso ayudara en el establecimiento del proyecto de la ley 363 y incrementara la seguridad de los peatones y ciclistas en el Estado de Maryland.

Two Key State Senators may Decide Fate of Vehicle Homicide Bill in Maryland

Two state senators along the border between Prince Georges and Montgomery Counties may determine whether Maryland adopts a proposed law that would make it a crime to kill someone by driving dangerously. House Bill 363 (Manslaughter by Vehicle or Vessel, criminal negligence) passed the Maryland House of Delegates last week, and is now being considered by the Senate Judicial Proceeding Committee, which rejected a similar bill last year. According to advocates for the bill, Senators Jamie Raskin (D-Montgomery) (see map) and Victor Ramirez (D-Prince Georges) (see map) are still undecided about whether to support the proposed law.

Every year more bicyclists and pedestrians are killed on the roads of Prince Georges County than any other city or county in our region. Part of the problem are aggressive drivers who speed, tail gate, drive on the wrong side of a double yellow line or drive on the shoulder—and never yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk. In parts of eastern Montgomery county, many immigrants have been struck by automobiles, possibly because drivers were less careful than the pedesrians had expected given their life experiences.

When aggressive drivers kill someone in most states or the District of Columbia, a jail sentence is likely. But not in Maryland. A drunk driver who kills someone in Maryland may be convicted of manslaughter. But to convict a sober driver of vehicular manslaughter requires proving that the driver knew that he or she might kill someone. And that is almost always impossible to prove. In effect, Maryland law has a loophole for sober drivers who kill: unless a passenger testifies that the driver knew he might kill someone, the courts will not allow him to be convicted.

  • A driver in Takoma Park swerved off the road and hit a 12-year old girl walking home from school on the sidewalk along Piney Branch Road. He then made a U-turn and drove off, and the girl died. The jury convicted him of manslaughter. But the appeals court overturned the conviction because under Maryland law, this evidence does not prove that the driver was reckless.
  • A driver in St. Mary’s county decided not to clear her windshield of frost, other than a small viewing hole. As a result, she could not see anything on the right side of the lane. While fiddling with some items on her lap, she struck and killed a father riding his bicycle on the right side of the road. Because she did not see the cyclist, she could not be convicted of manslaughter for killing him, and was fined $250.

In many states, drivers who kill can be charged with negligent homicide, if their driving is a flagrant violation of the duty to drive carefully—even if there is no proof that the drivers realized they might kill someone. Yet in Maryland there is no such crime.

But this year, the House of Delegates passed House Bill 363 which would create the crime of negligent vehicular homicide in Maryland. If the Senate passes the bill as well, Maryland will join the majority of states in the nation by closing the loophole. But the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee–the key committee deciding the fate of this bill—has been ambivalent. Under Chairman Brian Frosh (D-Bethesda), the Committee passed the bill in 2006 but rejected it in 2010. Advocates for the bill who have contacted all of the senators on the Committee have reported that senators from the Baltimore area generally favor the bill, but that Senators Ramirez, Raskin, and Frosh are all undecided.

Unless Senators hear from their constituents, time may run out before the Committee even considers the bill. Because email is ineffective this late in the session, if you live in either of these two districts, I suggest that you call Senator Ramirez (301-858-3745 and 1-800-492-7122 x3745) or Senator Raskin (301- 858-3634 and 1-800-492-7122 x3634). Even if the Senator is not in, discussing the issue with his staff is useful. If you gain any insights about how they view the issue, please let us know.

(Jim Titus is a member of WABA’s Board of Directors from Prince Georges County)