Today, I testified along with a number of bicyclists in the third in a series of hearings before the DC Council’s Committee on the Judiciary focused on bicyclist and pedestrian enforcement issues. The focus of that testimony is on the need for better training of MPD officers who are trusted with enforcing the laws that protect cyclists and their rights on the roadway, but are currently not given sufficient training to help them do so properly.
Previous hearings have brought dozens of cyclists telling stories of wrongful citations and poor enforcement, and an Office of Police Complaints (OPC) report stating that this is a systemic problem, not just a few isolated incidents. So the problem has been highlighted by individual cyclists, WABA, and OPC.
It is time to stop highlighting it and begin to solve it by developing a concrete plan to educate MPD officers and investing the funds necessary to carry it out. It is the Committee on the Judiciary that oversees MPD’s performance and their budget, so we hope that today’s hearing will mark a turning point in which the Committee will demand a workable improvement plan and hold MPD accountable for meeting it.
In addition to this focus on improved training of officers to enforce existing laws, we also reiterated the need for legislative changes (1) to create an exemption from the contributory negligence standard for vulnerable roadway users and (2) to pass the Assault of Bicyclists Protection Act that is currently before the Committee but has not been allowed to come to a vote.
Today’s mobile bike repair shop in Congress Heights was one of our largest ever, and provided us the opportunity to repair a ton of bikes, get a great supporter of our East of the Anacostia program back on a bike after quite a few years, and see several of last year’s “Get on a Bike” contest winners still riding.
Thanks to all who came out and to the Congress Heights community. As always, if you are interested in WABA’s East of the Anacostia programming, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yesterday, hundreds of WABA members and supporters in Montgomery County contacted Montgomery County DOT Director Art Holmes asking for the filling of the vacant Bicycle Coordinator position. The position has been vacant for three months, and MCDOT indicated an intention to leave the position unfilled, with bike program responsibilities dispersed among existing staff.
Director Holmes contacted WABA with a commitment to fill the vacant position. In his note Director Holmes said Aruna Miller has been assigned to serve as the full-time Acting Bicycle Coordinator until the vacancy is filled. The appointment is expected in the summer of 2012.
With the glow of the largest Bike to Work Day in history still shining and the recent announcement of bikesharing coming to Montgomery County, it is time for Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) to get serious about supporting the growth of bicycling. Committing to rehiring the Bicycle Coordinator position is a very positive step in the right direction!
With the coming of bikeshare to numerous locations in the county, as well as several major trail and infrastructure projects in the works, sufficient staffing is critical to keeping the bike program moving forward.
WABA would like to express our appreciation to Director Holmes for his commitment and for addressing our concerns in a timely manner. We look forward to working MCDOT to create a more bicycle friendly Montgomery County.
This post is part of WABA’s Women on Bikes program, an ongoing campaign to create a community, share resources, and develop strategies for getting more women on bikes. To read about the project so far, click here to check out the WABA blog. To learn more and sign up to receive emails about this project, click here.
By Kiera Zitelman & Laura Jean Shane, WABA’s Women’s Bicycling Interns
WABA’s Women on Bikes campaign is pleased to present the Tour de Bells, an inaugural ride open to all women and celebrating confident, fun and accessible bicycling for women of all levels of experience. The goal of this summer bike ride is to provide an easy and safe riding opportunity to women and to further encourage more women to simply go out and get on a bike! The Tour de Bells is a leisurely, slow paced ride where no woman will be left behind.
On June 2nd, Tour de Bells women will ride together for ten miles around the city stopping at various famous (and not-so-famous) bell towers. Bring along a friend to help them gain confidence and knowledge about riding in the city in a comfortable setting. You can ride your own bike or you can also rent a bike through Bike and Roll’s Downtown location at the Old Post Office Pavilion. We’ll be starting and ending the ride at this location as well.
Time Meet-up begins at 9:30 AM to allow time to rent bikes.
Ride leaves promptly at 10:00 AM.
Old Post Office Pavilion
1100 Pennsylvania Avenue
10 miles (approx.)
Please Note All riders are required to wear helmets and sign a waiver (available on site) to participate.
Bring along a bike lock if you would like to go to the top of the Old Post Office bell tower (free).
Women on Bikes is dedicated to helping women ride bikes more often and more enjoyably, and so this ride is designed to be women only.
Bike and Roll, Downtown @ The Old Post Office Pavilion
1100 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
In the rear plaza, entrance off of 12th St. NW
Saturday Hours: 9am – 9pm
Laura Jean Shane is a spring 2012 Women’s Bicycle Outreach & Advocacy Intern. She came to WABA as a former sports medicine professional and current Masters of Public Health student at GWU. A devotee of RAGBRAI, she moved to DC last year and cannot imagine getting around any other way.
Kiera Zitelman is a spring 2012 Women’s Bicycle Outreach & Advocacy Intern. She has gotten around the DC area by bike for years since growing up in Silver Spring. As an environmental science and policy student at UMD, she uses her bike to navigate campus every day and ride the Anacostia Tributary trails near College Park on the weekends.
Come join WABA & New Belgium for an evening of beers, bikes, and pre-Tour de Fat next Thursday, May 24th (5/24) at The Pug on H St. NE!
Enjoy tasty New Belgium brews (Fat Tire Amber Ale, Shift Pale Lager, & Tart Lychee Ale) and enter for the chance to win a 2012 New Belgium Custom Cruiser bike! Raffle tickets will be $5 with all proceeds going to WABA! Bring your friends, co-workers, family, or significant other. One of you will be rolling home with a sweet new ride! Plus, High fives and treats for all who ride!
Happy Hour Event Details:
1234 H St. NE
Washington, DC 20002
7-9pm (with bike raffle at 9pm sharp!)
Simply the coolest bike event of the year! Tour de Fat brings together passionate bike lovers for a day of two-wheeled reverly while raising money for local non-profits. Tour de Fat is a thrilling rite of passage that includes an unparalleled costumed bicycle parade, New Belgium beer, dazzling entertainment, local food, unusual bike contests and much more. Coming to 15 cities across the country, New Belgium has added Washington, DC and Atlanta to this year’s line-up!
With Bike To Work Day happening tomorrow, it seems fitting that WABA shares the news that the Federal Communications Commission has won the first annual Bicycling and Active Commuting Champion of the Year award. Reinvigorated last year by WABA member, Ed Fendley, FedBikes created a scorecard to evaluate federal agencies on their bicycle commuter friendliness. FedBikes members then collected the scorecards and compiled the data, determining a winner and honorable mentions. WABA is thrilled to have this resource available for all federal agencies and hope that it will inspire other agencies to accommodate, encourage and thereby tap the unlimited potential of bicycle commuters to their offices.
Read on for more details and information on how your agency can participate!
I had a great ride today, and was thrilled to see so many of my fellow Washington area cyclists out for an easy spin on a beautiful Mother’s Day Sunday. There was definitely a hitch or two, but I’m confident in reporting that thousands of us finished the ride with giant smiles on our faces. So I thought I’d share my experience of the day. Hit the jump for more.