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What to Do In the Event of a Crash

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Bicycle crashes are scary, disorienting events. Nobody wants to think about being involved in a crash, but it’s important to know what to do in case of emergency. Hopefully you will never have to experience this first-hand, but you may be able to help out your fellow bicyclists with your level-headed understanding of what to do in the situation.

This Thursday, April 17, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the MLK Library, join WABA and local attorney Bruce Deming for a roundtable presentation on important information bicyclists should know regarding bike crashes. We’ll cover steps to take now that can improve the outcome for you following a crash and how WABA is working to reduce the number of bike crashes through improving street infrastructure, street-level police education, and increasing crash data. Register here.

If you’re unable to attend the seminar, read below the jump for some tools to prevent, prepare for, and deal with an emergency situation:

At the Scene
You’ve been in a crash. Now what?

Try not to panic.

Make sure you are safe to move or stay where you are and wait for paramedics. If there is any doubt, err on the side of caution.

Call the police. Call 911. Make sure the police make a report. If you can’t call, ask someone nearby to call for you. This step is imperative. Without a police report, there is no record of the incident. Even if you don’t think there is any damage, this step cannot be overlooked.

Get contact information for any witnesses. Do not assume the police are doing this for you as they take the report. Make sure you are able to get in touch later with anyone who saw what happened.

Take photos of everything, including the vehicle involved, license plate, your bicycle, any property damage, the scene of the incident, etc.>

Collect the following information:

  • Driver’s Name
  • Driver’s License number
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Make and Model of Car
  • License Plate #
  • Insurance Company
  • Date, Time, Location of Accident

What if the driver flees the scene or doesn’t stop? A driver who is involved in an accident and feels the scene has committed a serious legal offense. Try to get the vehicle license plate number and state issued in.

Get home safely. Remember that backup plan? Now is the time to use it. Don’t attempt to ride a damaged bicycle or ride if you’re hurt.

After the Crash
You’re off the road. You’re home safe. What are the next steps?

Seek medical attention.

Write it down. While the crash is fresh in your memory, write down as many details about the event as possible.

Pick up a copy of the police report.

Take your bicycle to a shop for inspection and repair.

Document all expenses from the crash. Keep a log of any and all expenses incurred due to the crash. Life changes like taking the bus instead of riding your bike to work, damage to your clothes, personal property, bike, stuff in your backpack, time off work, etc. The WABA Crash Tracker App includes an expense tracker for this purpose. Use it.

Complete the WABA Crash Tracker. We use this data to work on both infrastructure and law enforcement changes. Fill out the Crash Tracker form here.

Ways You Can Attempt to Prevent Crashes
Avoid crashes and problems by riding safely.

Take a City Cycling class. Most bicycle crash incidents result from the bicyclist losing control of their bicycle, hitting debris or other hazards, or running into fixed objects, and not with motorists. Learn avoidance maneuvers, practice control drills, and gain skills needed to avoid dangerous situations at one of WABA’s City Cycling Classes.

Download the WABA Crash App. Available for both iPhone and Android users.

Consider your riding style, confidence level, and route. Are there adjustments or improvements you could make to decrease your risk of a crash?

Follow the law. Following the law makes you more predictable. It is also important to your ability to recover damages suffered in a crash. Due to contributory negligence, a bicyclist can get stuck with 100% of his or her medical bills and damages from a crash if even only 1% at fault for the crash–and failure to follow the law is evidence of fault.

At the Scene: Witness Edition
Not involved in the incident, but saw it happen? Here’s what to do:

Stay at the scene.

Call 911.

Give your name and contact information to those involved in the crash and let them know you are a witness.

Offer to help take down the above information (or do it yourself) for the victim.

We hope this overview helps to prepare you for the unlikely event that you are involved in a crash. Please consider joining us tomorrow evening at MLK Library from 6:30-8:30 p.m. for our crash seminar.

April Trailer Challenge: Halfway There!

ATC Week 2

To kickoff the spring season, the Bike Ambassadors started a month-long project: the April Trailer Challenge! We’re now halfway through the month and halfway through the challenge. During the second week of the challenge, the trailer made it to all eight wards of D.C.

ATC Week 2

For a closer look at this week’s ride map, follow the WABA Trailer on Strava.

This week, our volunteers rode 160 miles with the trailer in tow, bringing our monthly total up to 226 miles! Our goal for the entire month is 500 trailer team miles, and we’re right on track to reach that.

The ATC is a campaign to message WABA’s offerings of bike education, outreach, and advocacy to a broader audience in a fun way! Our goal for the month of April is to get the Bike Ambassador trailers around as much of the city as possible. We’re aiming for 500 trailer team miles in just 30 days.

Have you seen our trailer? You can participate in the April Trailer Challenge! Take a photo and post it on social media. Tag us @wabadc using #bikeambassador (on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook) and you’ll be entered to win a free bike tune-up.

Check out all the photos from the April Trailer Challenge!

For more information, contact the D.C. Bike Ambassador Program Coordinator Megan McCarty at megan.mccarty@waba.org.

See you in the bike lanes in April, and see more Trailer Challenge photos below the jump: Read the rest of this entry »

Join Us for Our Public Everyday Biking Seminars

April Trailer Challenge

This spring, we’re launching our Everyday Biking seminar program for those who want to learn more about urban biking. The Everyday Biking Seminars are launching just in time for Bike to Work Day!

Everyday Biking seminars are typically presented to local offices and workplaces, but we are making a few available to the public. Join us if you are interested in learning the basics on how to safely and easily fit biking into your daily life. Both events are free and open to all. If you’re an everyday biking pro, we encourage you to pass this along to your friends!

We’ll provide tips on:

  • Making sure your bike is in good working order
  • Planning a good route
  • Understanding safe riding principles and rules of the road and trail
  • Carrying your stuff, and more

After the presentation, WABA’s trained staff will answer questions, address concerns, and help resolve any other issues that may be keeping you from bicycling.

There are two upcoming public Everyday Biking seminars:

Mon., April 14
6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Northeast Public Library, 330 7th St NE, Washington, D.C. 20002
Sign up to attend here, or just show up!

Thurs., April 24
6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
WABA Office, 2599 Ontario Road NW, Washington, D.C. 20009
Sign up to attend here, or just show up!

April Trailer Challenge: Week 1

April Trailer Challenge - Week 1

To kickoff the spring season, the Bike Ambassadors started a month-long project: the April Trailer Challenge! For our inaugural week, we had 12 volunteers participate for a total of 65.8 trailer team miles.

The ATC is a campaign to message WABA’s offerings of bike education, outreach, and advocacy to a broader audience in a fun way! Our goal for the month of April is to get the Bike Ambassador trailers around as much of the city as possible. We’re aiming for 500 trailer team miles in just 30 days.

To get things started, we trained volunteer Bike Ambassadors to pull the rolling billboards through the streets of Adams Morgan, near WABA HQ. Each ambassador got a chance to learn the basics and ride with the team at Monday’s kickoff event.

During the first week of the challenge, the trailer made it to all four quadrants of D.C., including special pitstops at Nationals’ Opening Day, five embassies, the downtown cycletracks, and everywhere in between! Next week, we’re aiming to bring the trailer to all eight wards.

April Trailer Challenge - Week 1

Have you seen our trailer? You can participate in the April Trailer Challenge! Take a photo and post it on social media. Tag us @wabadc using #bikeambassador (on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook) and you’ll be entered to win a free bike tune-up.

Check out all the photos from the April Trailer Challenge!

For more information, contact the D.C. Bike Ambassador Program Coordinator Megan McCarty at megan.mccarty@waba.org. See you in the bike lanes in April!

April Trailer Challenge - Week 1

April Trailer Challenge - Week 1

April Trailer Challenge

April Trailer Challenge - Week 1

Get Involved: Bike Ambassador April Trailer Challenge

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April is almost here, and we are excited to introduce a month-long bike ambassador project: the April Trailer Challenge.

You’ve probably seen the BA trailers around town, and wondered what they’re all about. This month, our goal is to spread the message of bicycling to everyone in the community in a positive, tangible way! The best part is that you can participate.

What is the April Trailer Challenge? The ATC is an opportunity to get messages of bike education, outreach, and advocacy out to a broader audience in a fun way! Our goal as bike ambassadors is to get the trailers around as much of the city as possible during the month of April, and we’re going to need YOUR help! We’re aiming for 500 trailer team miles in just 30 days.

Why the Bike Ambassador trailer? Pulling the BA trailer is a great way to reach drivers and other bicyclists and communicate with a different audience that we might miss through other forms of outreach. Our BA trailers have a series of interchangeable signs with various bike-friendly messages that aim to get people thinking about bicycling, acting as “roll” models, or driving safely around bicyclists. Engaging a broad audience with cheerful reminders is a huge part of the BA program, and we want to give everyone a chance to get involved.

And, throughout the month of April, we’ll want to remind as many people as possible to register for Bike to Work Day. We want to hit 17,000 registrants—a massive increase from last year’s 12,000—and we hope that the ATC challenge will provide a great lead-up to May 16.

How can I participate? Keep reading!

Attend the Kickoff Event: It’s on Mon., March 31st, 2014 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the WABA office. Sign up here! This kickoff doubles as a training session. We’ll be acquainting ourselves with the nitty-gritty details of the how to participate, the rules, incentives, and gear up to take the trailers for a spin. Even if you’re not sure you want to pull the trailers yourself, we still encourage you to attend the kickoff event! It will be a great way to meet the bike ambassadors, go for a fun ride, and get volunteer credit for riding with the trailer parade. (Volunteer with WABA three times, and you earn a free membership.)

Pull the Bike Ambassador Trailer: You can sign up to pull the trailer on your own or to an event, or ride alongside the team as support crew. Sign up here to let us know you want to pull the trailer. Check out our trailering calendar and e-mail dcba@waba.org to set up a time.

Snap a picture: Spot the trailer? Take a photo, and post it on social media! Tag us @wabadc using #bikeambassador (on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook) and you’ll be entered to win a free bike tune-up.

For more information, contact the D.C. Bike Ambassador Program Coordinator, Megan McCarty at megan.mccarty@waba.org. See you in the bike lanes in April!

WABA Bike Ambassadors Share the Love for Valentine’s Day 2014

After last year’s hugely successful Valentine’s Day outreach at 15th and R streets NW, the bike ambassadors took it up a notch for 2014: Two outreach locations were selected, 500 valentines were hand-crafted by our volunteer team, treats were purchased, and plans were made. Our goal was to share the love of bicycling.

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Just before our bike ambassador teams were to deploy, the weather challenged us by dumping several inches of snow! But despite snow-covered bike lanes and freezing temperatures, the ambassadors pressed on.

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The first ambassador crew set up camp at the corner of East Capitol and 4th streets NE and waited for the morning rush.

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We typically see 150-plus bicyclists during morning commute outreach at this location, but due to the slush we only saw 3 cyclists in the 90 minutes we spent outside. Armed with an abundance of Valentine notes, we ventured out looking for recently-ridden bicycles (ones not covered in snow) all over the city on which to hang the leftovers.

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Some of our favorite Valentine messages included ”We WHEELIE like you,” ”Are you spoken for?” ”Hope your commute is as sweet as you are,” ”You’re just our speed,” and ”We like the way you roll.”

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By the time the afternoon team set up at the corner of 15th and L streets NW, the cycletrack had been plowed and the sun had warmed things up. People were surprised to see us out there, but thrilled to have positive interactions to kick off the weekend!

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Resources: Biking Visibly

This blog post is part of a new series by our bike ambassadors. It’s dedicated to presenting tips that will encourage new riders to get started. We’ll link these posts on our Resources page, forming a library of tips for beginning cyclists.

Staying visible on your bicycle is extremely important, but easy to overlook: You may not think you’ll ever get caught biking in the rain, dark, or fog, but the more you ride your bike, the more likely it is to happen! In the winter in particular, if you’re not lit up, you’re nearly invisible. Today, we’ll cover the basics on some obvious (and maybe not-so-obvious) ways to stay lit up.

THE OBVIOUS
Front Light

Mount a light on your handlebar and let your light shine where your bike is heading. This should be sufficient if you’re biking around town and have the added benefit of streetlights to light the way. A helmet-mounted light will shine where you’re looking. Consider doubling up if you’ll be out alone on a trail at night!

Rear Light
Flashing, or not flashing, put a red taillight to your rear. It’s a personal preference if you wear it on your bag, jacket, or mount it to your seat post, but the higher the light, the more visible it is to drivers. Remember to only use a red light behind you. Just like a car, a red light indicates a bike’s rear.

Consider a light set like these Planet Bike blinkies.

Reflectivity
At the very minimum, bicycles are required by law to come equipped with standard reflectors, front and back. If you purchased a used bicycle, or yours have fallen off over time, consider adding reflectors to your wheels, pedals, under the seat, or on your handlebars. If you want to add something more unique or stylish, there are plenty of creative options out there from reflective stickers, bike wrappers, tape, and reflective wheel stripes. Check out more about reflecting on your bicycle.

Hi-Vis Clothing
Safety black is not a real thing. While your all black coat may be stylish, it camouflages you in the dark. Consider wearing bright colors, or adorning your outfit with high-vis items such as a vest, ankle straps, leg or wrist bands. Many bicycle-specific clothing companies have reflective stripes built into their clothing and bags, but you can achieve the same function much more affordably by adding reflective tape to the gear you already own.

To test what you’ve got, have someone else ride your bicycle in your high-viz gear so you can get have a clear picture of how easily you’re seen.

THE NOT-SO-OBVIOUS
Reduce Your Speed
Slow down! This is less about you being visible and more about being able to see any obstacles in front of you. Particularly on roads you are less familiar, obstacles and debris are more difficult to spot in the dark.

Lane Positioning
Where in the lane should you ride to be most visible? Hint: Don’t hug the curb! Taking the lane (or riding in the center of a travel lane) is your legal right, and helps keep you visible to drivers. If no designated bicycle lane is available, riding in the center of a traffic lane not only allows you to avoid hazards near the edge of the road, but prevents oncoming vehicles from turning directly in front of you or passing too closely. And doing so keeps you out of the door zone (the area three to four feet away from parked cars).

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Resources: Basic Bike Commuting Gear

This blog post is part of a new series by our bike ambassadors. It’s dedicated to presenting tips that will encourage new riders to get started. We’ll link these posts on our Resources page, forming a library of tips for beginning cyclists.

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Commuting by bicycle isn’t complicated. You don’t need much to get started. Once you have a bike that fits you and is in working condition, you’re almost all set to ride. These basics will ensure that you’re safe, lawful, and comfortable.

A helmet: While a helmet is not required by law in D.C. for riders over the age of 16, there’s nothing wrong with protecting your head.

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U-lock: Unless you are just taking your bicycle out for a spin, you’re going to want to be able to leave your bike outside your destination (i.e. Metro station, restaurant, workplace, etc.) and rest assured it will be waiting for you when you’re ready to head home. Purchasing and properly using the best lock you can afford will provide a sense of security when you don’t have your eyes on your bike.

Lights: Requirements for lights vary by jurisdiction, but regardless, it’s important to keep yourself visible on the road. Make sure to use a white headlight (front light) and a red taillight (rear light) when it’s dark, foggy, or in wet weather. There are several types of bike lights, and the one that suits your needs depends on your ride. Riding a dark trail at night? You’ll want the brightest one you can find to help illuminate the path in front of you. Riding down a heavily light cycle track? Maybe you can get by with smaller blinky lights. Even if you don’t think you’ll ever ride at night, you never know when you may leave work later than you planned, get caught in the rain, or decide you need to take your bike out after dark.

Some bicycle commuters often find that it’s nice to have a few extras beyond what’s absolutely necessary. These nice-to-have items include:

Bell: Bells are not only for your safety, but for the safety of other bicyclists and pedestrians out on the road. A bell can communicate to others that you’re passing, warn jaywalkers that you are approaching, or grab the attention of a passenger hopping out of a cab before they door you.

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Fenders: Avoid loking like a skunk after your rainy day rides by adding fenders to your bike. A wet and puddle-filled ride becomes more enjoyable when you’re not working about getting your clothes filthy on the way.

Gloves: Plenty of riders use cushioned gloves on their everyday commute throughout the year. Protecting your hands from the cold, wet, and wind is crucial during the winter months since most braking and shifting control comes from your hands and fingers. For most short commutes, your usual winter gloves will suffice.

How We Biked KIND-ly in 2013

Last week, we announced that the Bike KIND-ly program—during which our bike ambassadors hand out Kind bars stickered with a helpful tip about bike etiquette—is back on for 2014.

On a monthly basis, the ambassadors selected a different location and crafted a message to distribute to cyclists riding near it. Individual snack bars were adorned with a short reminder to share the road, yield to pedestrians on sidewalks, basic bike-lane etiquette, and to ride lawfully. Read the full list of last year’s Bike KIND-ly tips below:

  1. Don’t be a bike ninja! Position yourself to be seen, and be visible with bright bike lights, bright colors and reflectivity.
  2. Avoid bicycling on the sidewalks! You’re safest when you ride on the road and go with the flow.
  3. Be extremely KIND to your fellow trail users. When passing slow down, ring your bell, give an audible warning, pass on their left.
  4. Communicate lane changes and turns to drivers with hand signals, eye contact, and your positioning on the road.
  5. Show respect for fellow road users. Yield to pedestrians in x-walks and follow traffic laws.
  6. Tune into your surroundings, not mobile devices. Don’t text or make phone calls by bike.
  7. First in, first out. Wait behind cyclists already stopped at lights. Don’t crowd beside or blow through without warning.
  8. Thanks for Stopping By. Obey traffic signs to help prevents injuries and improve bicyclists’ image. Be a Roll Model!
  9. Claim the lane! A cyclist is entitled to the road, take what is yours! Riding in the middle of the lane makes you more visible to drivers.

And here’s a list of Bike KIND-ly locations:

  • Columbia Heights Metro station
  • Met Branch Trail
  • 15th Street cycletrack and M Street NW
  • R Street and New Jersey Avenue NW
  • East Capitol and 4th streets NE
  • 11th and W streets NW
  • 11th Street Bridge SE
  • 16th and U streets NW
  • Kansas and 5th streets NW

Have a suggestion for the next Bike KIND-ly location or message? Let us know! Email the D.C. Bike Ambassadors at dcba@waba.org.

Bike KIND-ly is Back for 2014!

Bike KIND-ly is back for the 2014 season!

Last year, WABA’s Bike Ambassadors partnered with KIND Snacks to create a Bike KIND-ly campaign. Each month, a different “tip” geared towards bicycle safety or etiquette was stuck on a snack bar and given out at various locations around the city as a reminder to riders to be kind on the roads. We reached over 2,000 bicyclists last year and are hoping to have an even bigger impact this year.

Catch the Bike Ambassadors tomorrow morning, Jan. 8, at Kansas Avenue and 5th St. NW rom 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. Stop by to learn more about the program, how you can get involved, or just to grab a snack!

If you missed the 2013 Bike KIND-ly season, stay tuned. We’ll be back here with a full list of last year’s tips. For now, check out some photos below the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

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