Contributory Negligence Bill Tabled for 2014

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Today, D.C. Council Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety tabled a proposed bill to improve access to compensation for crash victim–effectively killing it for this legislative session. Mary Cheh (Ward 3) introduced the motion to table. Councilmember Evans (Ward 2) and Chairman Mendelson voted to table the bill. Councilmember Wells (Ward 6) voted against the motion.

The “Bicycle and Motor Vehicle Collision Recovery Amendment Act of 2014″ (Bill 20-844) was introduced by Councilmember Grosso, Wells and Cheh in July to provide relief to vulnerable roadway users whose claims are inappropriately denied by insurers, and who cannot secure representation in the courts due to the economic effect of the liability standard.

We are deeply disappointed that the economic concerns of the insurance industry and the D.C. Trial Lawyers Association derailed progress on a bill that would have meaningfully helped hundreds of crash victims receive the recovery they are fairly due for injuries resulting from another party’s negligence. We will continue to work to resolve this systemic problem.

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Our Future Trails Celebration was a blast!

Last weekend WABA partnered with REI to bring the region an event that celebrated our amazing network of biking and walking trails.

Even though it was pretty chilly outside, hundreds of people came out to warm up with us in our heated tent, enjoy some free cookies and coffee, get their face painted, play some games and learn about the network of trails that exists and future plans for expanding trails in DC, MD and VA. Check out photos of the celebration and read on for more highlights of the event below.

One of the highlights of the event was the three trail tours of the nearby Metropolitan Branch Trail led by our very own Trail Ranger Coordinator. About 45 people joined us on bikes for informational tours on the trail, and many even took advantage of the free bike rentals we provided for the tours.

Another highlight of the day was REI. This celebration and WABA’s current advocacy project around the Arlington Boulevard Trail (you can read all about our concept plan for this new Virginia trail here) was made possible with REI’s amazing support. They even brought out an REI bike mechanic to the celebration, who became the star of the whole show with a line of bicyclists at least 10 deep the whole day, to help fix people’s bikes for free! REI also had their incredibly beautiful signature camp set up to let event participants see what it’s like to bike camp in style.

Interested in staying in touch and receiving updates about WABA’s work on regional trails? Sign up for trail-related news here.

WABA would also like to thank the NoMa BID for their partnership in helping to make this event happen.

ARTCRANK DC raised $2,300 for WABA

In case you missed it, a few weekends ago ARTCRANK DC came to DC’s 1776 venue (right on the 15th Street cycletrack, conveniently). With prints and posters from more than 20 local artists on display and for sale, the event brought together bicycle lovers, art lovers, and of course beer lovers for an awesome poster party for bike people.

We’d like to extend a HUGE thank you to Oskar Blues Brewery for donating the beer for the event so that WABA could take home the proceeds from all beer sales during the show to help fund our ongoing regional advocacy and outreach efforts.

Artcrank logo blackWABA would also like to say a big bicycle thank you to the ARTCRANK team for coming to DC for their first ever show in our Nation’s Capitol and for selecting WABA to be the non-profit cause partner of the show. Thanks to ARTCRANK and Oskar Blue we raised over $2,300! We can’t wait till they return in 2015.

And a huge thank you to all of our beautiful volunteers!

Volunteers

Last Week Tonight with the Bike Ambassadors

On November 1st, a shipment of 750 bicycle lights arrived at the WABA Office. By November 20th, our team of Bike Ambassadors distributed all of them to DC area bicyclists in need. Thanks to a heroic volunteer effort, WABA was able to quickly fill a need in the DC bicycling community. Along with our standard outreach near heavily traveled bike corridors, Ambassadors went to local restaurants in search of service industry employees who bike to and from work. More often than not these workers end their shifts well past midnight, so reaching them with the “Got Lights?” campaign was a top priority. Unfortunately we weren’t able to get everyone in DC a bicycle light, but it was a good start in the right place.

Phill helps to bicyclists riding at night without lights.

Bike Ambassador Phill helps two bicyclists riding at night without lights.

If you would like to join our efforts to make DC the friendliest bike town in all the land, consider becoming a DC Bike Ambassador. Our next orientation is on December 9th 2014 from 6 pm-7:30pm. You can register here. It will be held at the WABA headquarter in Adams Morgan. There will be plenty of bicycle parking and metro accessible. Light refreshments will be served.

Introducing Takoma Bicycle, a WABA Business Leader 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 Takoma Bicycle.

Takoma Bicycle is a full service bicycle shop located in Takoma Park, Maryland. Voted one of America’s Best Bike Shops by The National Bicycle Dealers Association, Takoma Bicycle has built a loyal following, which it appreciates and acknowledges with its rewards program. The full-service bike shop carries bicycles for the whole family, bicycle accessories and repair parts. And you can also find indoor trainers if you need that extra bit of training. Takoma Bicycle is a neighborhood bike shop with a neighborhood feel.

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Takoma Bicycles was rated one of America’s Best Bike Shops in 2013 and 2014. The shop holds periodic classes as well. We are happy to call Takoma Bicycles a Business Leader 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.

Next Big Thing: The Arlington Boulevard Trail

Arlington Blvd Trail in Context

Some context for this exciting new project.

Arlington Boulevard runs just over twelve miles from the National Mall in Washington, DC to Fairfax City, VA, crossing several jurisdictional lines and the Potomac River along the way. The thoroughfare connects more than 100,000 people living in adjacent neighborhoods to offices, retail, parks, schools, and government services. What it lacks is a consistent, high-quality bicycling route. We came up with an analysis of what it would take to solve this problem.

As you can see in the map above, much of an Arlington Boulevard bicycle route already exists. On-road paths and wide service roads with little traffic run parallel to many sections of the road, but they don’t connect to each other. 1.3 miles of bridges and 8.1 miles of protected bicycle lanes (or on-road shared-use paths) would create a continuous trail, 22 miles in length, on both the north and south sides of Arlington Boulevard. Investing in linking this piecemeal infrastructure into a continuous trail corridor—and linking that corridor, in turn, to the regional trail network, would unlock the full potential of the corridor as a place for people, not just automobiles.

We put together a details analysis of the current infrastructure and recommendations for connecting and improving the network.  You can explore the full document here:

Arlington Boulevard Trail Concept Plan

We also have a limited number of paper copies of this document. If you’d like a copy, please send us an email.

 

Fall adventures with DC Youth Bike Clubs

This fall, we piloted Bike Clubs in two locations in ward 7, working with a group of 4th and 5th graders at Randle Highlands Elementary School and 9-14 year olds at Benning Park Recreation Center.

Bike Club is an afterschool enrichment program in which youth explore their neighborhoods on bikes and combine biking with academic and team-building activities.

The Randle Highlands Bikers and the Benning Park Smooth Riders (team names chosen by our students) rode all over town – we explored Anacostia Park, Fort Dupont, the Marvin Gaye Park Trail, and many parks and community centers in between. We learned about bike maintenance and journaled about our experiences, and braved the Hillcrest hills together.

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The Randle Highlands Bikers take a break near Fort Dupont park.

Last week I caught up with Jessie Webb, a recreation specialist and co-creator of Benning Park Bike Club. When Jessie approached us during the summer about the idea of starting an afterschool bike program at the rec, the timing was perfect, as WABA’s education department was hoping to pilot more youth enrichment programs around biking. Now, several months, many miles, meetings, snacks, and group rides later, we looked back on the program’s successes and challenges.

"My dream bike has boosters on the back."

“My dream bike has boosters on the back.”

WABA: Where did the idea to start a bike club come from?

Jessie Webb: It was one of my first days around the rec center, in the community, and I kept seeing young people using a lot of ingenuity and riding bikes that shouldn’t be ridden, riding bicycle trash. I thought it would be cool to engage them this way — and they really love bikes, so we started out fixing their bikes … [and afterward] I really wanted us to have a bike club and to ride. That’s when we started talking and came upon the idea of youth exploring their community on their own two wheels.

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Exploring the pirate ship at Anacostia Park.

WABA: I think you said once to me that this club – this program – engages the community in a unique way. Could you tell me more about that?

JW: I thought it was a novel concept. In that coming of age time, around 12 or 13 — in those years you’ve got enough freedom to branch out a little bit and you want to do that. [Bike Club] is also me walking with youth in a safe way and kind of doing life together. I’m really big on mentoring, but as you go along, not just sitting down and I’m lecturing, but living life together through shared experiences. I thought the bike thing was a great tool to mentor through, to select youth and to get to know the kids.

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DC Bike Ambassador Jon Gonzalez joined us for bike club in Hillcrest.

Also, I think the kids come [to the program], but it’s not like we serve them as much as it’s like they get to serve themselves. Because they are the ones riding the bike, a lot of the experience is self-guided, which I like. Even when they had to label different parts of the bike they had to figure it out themselves; the material wasn’t just spoon-fed to them.

They were really excited about it — all throughout the week kids will be asking about the bike club. I think this is a great way to engage youth in a very different way … I had a guy tell me who’s been with the rec for many years that this is the first time he’s ever seen someone do a bike club through the rec department.

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Benning Park Smooth Riders on the road.

WABA: What do you think the youth took away from the program?

JW: The bike safety piece is something that wasn’t even on their radar before this, and now it is. Little things that we covered, like the abc check, putting air in your tire, thinking to check your brakes before you ride around – I think some of the youth if not all will remember how important these things are. I also think that their level of riding has been enriched a little bit.

I think they have developed a love for biking, too. It’s probably already there with the lion’s share of the kids, but I think it’s going to grow through exercises like this, being able to be a part of this deal. It’d be great if we had some lifelong bikers develop, through being excited to be in the bike club and then having that hunger spurt on.

"My dream bike has eyes on it so it can see everywhere."

“My dream bike has eyes on it so it can see everywhere.”

Bike Clubs like these wouldn’t be possible without our excellent partner organizations and input from other educators. Big thanks to Darlene Ferguson and the faculty and staff of Randle Highlands Elementary School and Jessie Webb and the staff of Benning Park Recreation Center.

We’re also so appreciative of the advice and words of wisdom from Ryne Emory of The Bike Depot in Denver, CO and Liz Pisarcyzk of Neighborhood Bike Works in Philadelphia, PA, who offered their time and experience to help us develop this program.

WABA’s afterschool program will be back in the spring. Email us at education@waba.org if your organization is interested in hosting a bike club.