Not so fast…

Despite recent forward progress on the “Motor Vehicle Recovery Act of 2015,” the D.C. Council Committee on the Judiciary is delaying work on the bill until the fall. Last week, we announced the bill would have a markup hearing before the Council’s summer recess, but today, the Committee on the Judiciary’s mark-up hearing agenda did not include it. The bill will have to wait until the fall when the Council returns from recess.

The Judiciary Committee cited other remaining business before the committee as the reason for the delay. While tight schedules are understandable, delaying this bill will directly impact hundreds of District residents over the next few months. There at least 3-4 crashes every day involving a pedestrian or bicyclist in D.C. Many of these injured victims will be denied recovery of damages and medical expenses because of the current law.

The “Motor Vehicle Recovery Act of 2015” will abolish the unfair and out-of-date negligence standard that allows insurance companies to deny injured victim’s claims after a crash with a driver. We are disappointed to see progress on this important piece of legislation delayed until September.

Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie (Ward 5 – D) is the chair of the Judiciary Committee. If you wish to express your opinion about the delay of this bill, please send him an email or call his office at (202) 724-8028. Learn more about this issue and WABA’s campaign to make the law fair for vulnerable road users involved in crashes

How to Go Multi-Modal

Have no fear—just because you can’t bike the whole way doesn’t mean you can’t ride at all! If your commute is long, if you live in an area that doesn’t have great bike infrastructure, or if you can’t find a comfortable route to pedal from point A to point B,  you can still go multi-modal. (That means using more than one mode of transportation to get you where you need to go). Check out these tips:



Taking your bike on Metro is easy. Just make sure you are familiar with these basics:

  1. Avoid rush hour. Bikes are not allowed on trains during weekday rush hour times (7am-10am and 4pm-7pm). Also be sure to check about bike allowances on special occasions, such as holidays.
  2. Folding bikes are SUPER Metro-friendly. Folding bikes are convenient, cool, and are allowed on Metro ANYTIME! If you will be traveling multi-modally on the train, investing in a folding bike may be well worth looking into.
  3. Use the elevator. It’s easier and safer than trying to get your bicycle up and down on the escalator. Be sure to be courteous and respectful of other elevator users, particularly giving first priority to seniors and persons with disabilities.
  4. Do not use the center car doors. Instead, enter and exit using the first or last door on the train car. *Bonus tip: The first and last cars of the train are usually the least crowded!

    Image via WMATA.

    Image via WMATA.

  5. Do not block aisles or doors. Maintain control of your bike and try to stand in a place that does not block access to doors and seats.
  6. Bike storage lockers. If you’re riding to the Metro station, it might be a good idea to look into renting a secure bike storage locker.

For more details and information on bikes and Metro, check out WMATA’s website here.


Yes, it can be intimidating to use the bicycle rack on the bus for the first time. But when you try, you’ll find that it is not too difficult and just takes some practice. Don’t be scared to try or to ask for help from the driver if you’re having trouble. And be sure to check out this awesome video tutorial so you can be a bus bicycle rack pro in no time! Note that all Metrobuses and local service buses across the region have racks.

Image via Flickr user Elvert Barnes

Image via Flickr user Elvert Barnes

Drive and go!

You can always bike the last part of your trip! You can pack your bike in your car and drive to a Metro station or other secure spot and simply ride from there.

If a bike rack seems cumbersome, try Capital Bikeshare for the second leg of your commute. Check out their website for station locations and other info here.

Also, for all of you Arlington folks, be sure to check out this cool, online multi-modal trip planning tool here.

Going multi-modal is certainly not cheating. It’s a fun and efficient way to get around—and you still get to ride your bike! With just a little planning and knowledge, you can become a routine multi-modal commuter.

wandblogoThis blog post is part of a weekly Women & Bicycles series of tips and helpful information that will answer frequently asked questions, provide helpful advice to common problems, and make bicycling a more accessible, widely-chosen means of transportation, exercise, and fun! To learn more about WABA’s Women & Bicycles program, click here to learn more and get involved.

Crash Victim Bill Moving Forward in D.C. Council

BTWD 2015 -Colin_0133 (1) (1)

The D.C. Council Committee on the Judiciary will hold a mark-up hearing for the Motor Vehicle Recovery Act of 2015 in early July.  If passed, this bill will enable injured victims to recover damages after a crash.

The District of Columbia is one a few remaining jurisdictions with an antiquated contributory negligence standard (Maryland and Virginia are too) in the country. Most states abolished the use of contributory negligence decades ago.

Insurance companies use confusion of the rules that pertain to bicycling or slight errors made by injured crash victims to deny their claims. Victims are stuck paying their medical bills and costs to fix their damaged property (i.e. their bicycle). Or, they try to hire an attorney to bring an expensive lawsuit against the driver’s insurance. Often attorneys won’t take these cases because the risk of losing is too high. All are no-win situations.

The Motor Vehicle Recovery Act of 2015 will make it against the law for insurance companies to continue this unfair practice. Injured bicyclists and pedestrians will have a fair chance to have their claims paid. Negligent drivers who injure people should be responsible for their actions.  This bill does not give a bicyclist the right to recovery if they are primarily at fault.

Last year, the Judiciary Committee held a public hearing on the “Bicycle and Motor Vehicle Collision Recovery Amendment Act of 2014.” The committee tabled the bill in November due to concerns from DC Trial Lawyer’s Association. Councilmember Mary Cheh reintroduced Motor Vehicle Recovery Act of 2015 in January. The current bill is stronger and addresses concerns raised last year. Councilmembers Bonds, Evans, Grosso, Allen and Alexander co-introduced the bill.

The exact date for the mark-up hearing is not known yet, but the hearing will occur before the summer recess begins in mid-July. The bill must have a majority of committee members vote in favor of the bill to move it back to the full Council for consideration. The soonest the bill could be back to the full Council is this fall. Councilmember McDuffie is the chair of the Judiciary Committee. If you wish to express your support of this bill moving forward in the committee, please send him an email.

The DC Bike Ambassadors Are Back! And they brought backup!


Early this morning DC Bike Ambassadors and Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne Nadeau teamed up to promote bicycle safety along the 14th St. NW corridor. The Bike Ambassador program was created by WABA & DDOT to encourage bicycling as an alternative form of transportation and recreation for DC residents.  Do not be alarmed if an Ambassador offers you a high five for riding your bike to work, or hands you a free bike light when you’re riding at night in the dark. It’s all a part of the plan to make DC the greatest bike town in the country.

If you would like to join this team of awesome and happy people, you’re in luck! The DC Bike Ambassadors are currently looking for enthusiastic volunteers. We’re hosting an orientation on Tuesday July 7th, 2015 at 6:00 pm at the WABA headquarters (2599 Ontario Rd. NW). You can RSVP here. Food and drinks will be provided.

Why become an Ambassador?
1) To advocate for better bicycling in your neighborhood.
2) To share your bicycling experience with people who feel uncomfortable with the idea of riding a bicycle in the city.
3) To make bike friends who like bicycling almost as much as you do.

See you July 7th?

This Thursday’s Block Party With Your PALs!

Want to reach your
Destination faster?
Be a PAL
Avoid disaster!

Join us for our next PAL Block Party and show off our Burma Shave signs!  We’ll be holding our awesome series of signs at the intersection of Lee, Old Dominion, Military and Quincy.

Join us for 20 minutes or full the full 2 hours. It will be a good time. After the event, we’ll ride up the road a little and get a beer at Cowboy Cafe.

Click here for more details and to RSVP.

Hope to see you there,

BikeArlington launched the PAL campaign 2 years ago with the strong sentiment that no matter who we are or how we choose to get around town, our roadways depend on a social contract that everyone is following the rules and paying attention. Whether we’re walking, driving, or biking we rely on our fellow road-users to be PALs; Predictable. Alert. Lawful.

The mission of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association is to create a healthy, more livable region by promoting bicycling for fun, fitness, and affordable transportation; advocating for better bicycling conditions and transportation choices for a healthier environment; and educating children, adults, and motorists about safe bicycling.

A Leadership Transition Update

As my departure from WABA approaches, I wanted to take a moment to inform members, supporters, and friends about our organization’s transition plan. Even before I publicly announced that I would be stepping down from WABA several months ago, board and staff began planning for a smooth leadership transition that would ensure there would be no gap in our services to our members or the community, and no drop in our capacity to represent bicycling and bicyclists throughout the region.

Nelle Pierson

Nelle Pierson, Interim Executive Director

To lead the organization’s operations through this transition period, I am pleased to announce that Nelle Pierson will serve as WABA’s Interim Executive Director starting July 1st, and has agreed to serve in that role until a new Executive Director is selected and confirmed by the board.

The board and staff have the utmost confidence in Nelle’s ability to guide the organization. I know that many of you are already familiar with Nelle’s work. She has served WABA in several capacities over the years, starting as a volunteer, then joining the staff as WABA’s events coordinator, and now leading our outreach efforts–including oversight of the DC Bike Ambassador and Arlington PAL Ambassador programs, the Women & Bicycles program, East of the Anacostia outreach program, Bike Commuter Seminars program, and Suburban Outreach program.

These programs will all continue without disruption, and I am grateful to the staff and volunteers who have agreed to step up their efforts and ensure that they continue to succeed, allowing Nelle to focus her attention more broadly.

Again, I thank you all for your support over the years, and I ask you to support Nelle similarly as she leads WABA through this period of transition.


Riding in the Heat

Let’s face it. Summer is here. It feels like an oven outside and you can’t walk a block without looking like you’ve just gotten out of a personal training session. It’s almost impossible to ride your bike in these temps, right?

Wrong! You can ride in the heat and arrive wherever you’re headed comfortably and okay. Don’t believe me? Here are some tips to help get you pedaling all the way through the summer:

    1. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Drink a lot of water – before, during, and after your ride. And make sure to start sipping before you’re thirsty. An insulated water bottle (like the one pictured below) will help keep your water refreshingly cool. Also, look into local TapIt locations on your route so you know where you can fill up your water bottle for free!
    2. Protect yourself from the sun. Wear sunglasses – they’ll help you to see through the sun’s glare, shield your eyes from dirt and dust, and protect your eyes from harmful UV rays.  Be sure to apply plenty of sunblock before you get on your bike, reapplying every 2 hours or so.
    3. Shade is your new best friend. For a more bearable and comfortable ride, plan your ride along shady routes and scout out some possible resting places along the way to take a breather and relax if needed.

      Image from Flickr via user

      Image from Flickr via user Digikiki

    4. Plan ahead! Plan a route that generally avoids major hills and other strenuous riding obstacles. Find places that you could stop and refill along the way. Give yourself extra time and go at an easy, relaxed pace. Most importantly, be honest with yourself and know your limits! It’s okay if the heat is too much. Just make sure to have an alternative travel plan. You can even split up your trip and plan a multi-modal commute, like bringing your bike on the Metro or bus.

      Image taken from Metro

      Image taken from Metro

    5. What you wear counts. Make sure to wear clothes that are moisture-wicking and comfortable. Light-colored fabrics that reflect the sun are ideal. Try to stick to polyester-type fabrics and flowy clothes that are breathable – you’ll appreciate the extra breeze! It also helps to wear a cycling cap under your helmet to keep your hair looking great despite the humidity.
    6. Don’t be afraid to sweat. Sweating is virtually unavoidable. So while you can’t stop your body’s natural way of cooling you down, you can prepare for how you deal with it. If you’re riding to work, try to leave your work clothes at the office and bike there in more comfortable, lighter clothing. You could also invest in some panniers or a basket to carry a change of clothes with you on your ride.
      Image from The Active Times

      Image from The Active Times

      It’s a bonus if your destination has showers. But if not, pack a towel, washcloth, or baby wipes and some deodorant – and make sure to give yourself some extra time to wipe down and cool-off.

And most importantly…


Copy of PAL - Arlington ride with Pete 3


wandblogoThis blog post is part of a weekly Women & Bicycles series of tips and helpful information that will answer frequently asked questions, provide helpful advice to common problems, and make bicycling a more accessible, widely-chosen means of transportation, exercise, and fun! To learn more about WABA’s Women & Bicycles program, click here to learn more and get involved.