Whoa! Our First Oversized Check!

e6MXyK7ObZyMVaWZ7KTNlYi1U8M0BlyNV1r6XhihuwIThis is part of our Women & Bicycles blog series,  part of WABA’s initiative to build a stronger women’s bike community and get more women on bikes.  These posts aren’t exclusive to women, but they’re produced with and through the Women & Bicycles’ programming.
Click here to learn more and get involved.

 

Last week Team Sticky Fingers presented our Women & Bicycles program with an oversized check for $3,000. Yes, $3,000! We were shocked.

Sticky Fingers two

Team Sticky Fingers is a fun-loving group of gals who train like crazy, race like crazy, and consume delicious vegan treats like – any normal person would devour baked goods.

The team is committed to inspiring more women to race bikes. They raised the funds through their sold-out screening of Half the Road, a documentary on the struggles women face in pro racing circuits.

Team Sticky Fingers, thank you for supporting WABA’s work through event collaboration and oversized brightly-colored checks. Your contributions to the community help us get more women biking, no matter if it’s on a bikeshare, hybrid, or pro-grade hand-crafted tapered cold-worked titanium cyclocross bike!

 

So much bike love,

WABA

 

 

 

 

Proposed Sidewalk Biking Ban: Bad Bill, Good Opportunity.

Yesterday, Councilmember Jim Graham introduced a bill that would ban bicyclists from riding on the sidewalk in the District wherever there is a bike lane in the same direction. In the accompanying press release, Graham cites as a reason for the bill the death of 78-year old Quan Chu, who was struck by a bicyclist while walking with his wife. This event was tragic, but it did not take place on a sidewalk.

We recognize that as more people bike and walk in the District, it is important to have clear norms for interactions between bicyclists and pedestrians to keep people safe. We also recognize that the present regulation of bicyclists on the sidewalk makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

For those who don’t know, the present system is to:

  1. prohibit bikes in an arbitrarily shaped “Central Business District,”
  2. place no signage telling anyone where that is,
  3. place bike parking and actual bikeshare stations on the sidewalks in that zone, then
  4. occasionally have MPD ticket bicyclists for using the bike infrastructure the District placed on the sidewalk in the area where the District prohibits sidewalk riding.

It is tempting to simply oppose Graham’s bill because it’s out of touch with the realities of urban riding—we need safe alternatives for novice cyclists when bike lanes are blocked or other safety needs would lead a cyclist to leave the roadway.  But simply opposing any legislation to deal with the sidewalk issue would be a missed opportunity to improve and rationalize the District’s regulation of the relationship between bicyclists and pedestrians.

To do that, we need to insist on evidence-based policy that accounts for real behaviors and real safety needs. We can’t just assume that because a bike lane exists, bicycling there is safe at all times. Similarly, we can’t just assume that because a sidewalk exists, bicycling is unsafe there at all times. Rather, we need to dig into the details and plan for pedestrians and bicyclists with a data-driven approach that accounts for congestion levels and actual safety.

We need to avoid the hyperbolic rhetoric about crashes that, while sad, are not relevant to the bill. And we need to avoid the knee-jerk reaction to take away portions of the public space from vulnerable users due to unsubstantiated fears and biases. Instead, let’s invest our energy in taking policy steps that would actually make pedestrians safer on the sidewalks and bicyclists safer on physically protected infrastructure.

We would like to work with our legislators and pedestrian advocates to improve the District’s regulation of public space for public safety. But this bill presents a lazy one-size-fits-all approach that assumes a bike lane is “good enough” to foreclose other options for people who bike, and we know that simply isn’t how things work in the real world. At a minimum, the bill should be amended to only ban sidewalk riding where there is a physically protected, unobstructed bike lane (also called a cycletrack). But we would prefer an approach that involved DDOT’s bicycle and pedestrian staff in examining sidewalk widths, bike/ped travel rates, and congestion to more sensibly address the issue.

Adding this bike-lane-based ban to the current silly system only makes the system sillier–ensuring that it won’t be enforced or paid attention by anyone. I challenge Councilmember Graham and his colleagues on the Council, if this issue is an issue they wish to focus on, to invest the effort to produce a bill that will rationalize our policy and improve public safety.

This bill doesn’t do that, and WABA therefore opposes it. But we remain eager to participate in crafting a bill that would address Councilmember Graham’s underlying concern in a more comprehensive and data-driven way, in hopes of improving safety for all.

Meanwhile, we’ll keep our focus on the solutions for the hundreds of pedestrians and bicyclists hit and injured by automobiles each year in the District (427 at the time of this writing). We invite our elected officials to take a leadership role in solving that problem as well.

A Fuller Description of the Contributory Negligence Problem for Bicyclists

Clicking the link below will take those who are interested to a post that more fully articulates the problems contributory negligence poses for bicyclists. It’s a long read, but I’ve received many questions and decided to write this fuller post on Medium (1) in hopes that it reaches new readers, and (2) to allow readers to engage via Medium’s commenting feature.

The Duties of Prescience & Perfection

Become a WABA Member: Get great membership perks

 

you-bike-you-vote

It’s the last day to of the member drive! Last chance to join or renew and receive a limited edition “I bike. I vote. & I’m a WABA Member” shirt.

HOLY SMOKES! SIGN ME UP!

We’ve shared with you stories and information about our programs. We have heard and seen your support throughout the city. The last step is to join or renew with WABA and add your voice to thousands of cyclists who are striving for a more bicycle-friendly region.

Aside from the the great benefit of having an organization that advocates on your behalf, provides outreach to our region, and educates our community, WABA Members receive other cool perks as well!

Here are just a few that come with your WABA Member:

– Discounts at over 50 area bike shops

– Access to member-only rides and events

– Use of bike-boxes for travel

– Discounts at dozens of local business

See a full list of membership perks here!

We’ll see you tonight from 5:30 – 8 PM at Beiergarten Haus for a celebratory Biketober Fest Happy Hour. If you were one of lucky first 500 to join or renew you can also come and claim your shirt!

Become a WABA Member: Support our Outreach Programs

you-bike-you-vote

This week is our 2014 WABA Member Drive. On the blog, we’re highlighting the work your membership supports.

Join or renew now!

 Through our D.C. Bike Ambassadors program we travel throughout the District promoting safe and responsible cycling as well as encouragement and education for all road users to share the road responsibly.

Our Women & Bicycles program has exploded in the last year with over 2,300 participants in the online forum – yet work still remains to get even more women involved in bicycling.

Our Suburban outreach team visits points out of the District where many people still bike, but their routes are a little bit longer, and some of their concerns a little bit different.

Our East of the River program strives to connect residents living in Ward 7 and Ward 8 with bicycling but holding mobile clinics, events, and community rides.

Our Trail Ranger program monitors and helps maintain some of the most popular bike trails in our area. From the Metropolitan Branch Trail to the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail, they help report maintenance, spearhead community clean-up events, and even showcase the trails with fun events!

Our outreach efforts help keeps our bicycling community growing towards a more inclusive place. Your membership supports this idea and shows your support for those cyclists just joining our community.

The first 500 people to join or renew this week will receive a limited edition “I bike. I vote. @ I’m a WABA Member” t-shirts. T-shirts can be picked up on October 17 from 5:30-8:00 PM at Beirgarten Haus on H st. or will be shipped the week after.

Become a WABA Member: Support our Advocacy Work

you-bike-you-vote

This week is our 2014 WABA Member Drive. On the blog, we’re highlighting the work your membership supports.

Join or renew now!

Your membership directly supports our advocacy work. We spend time in meetings, planning sessions, conference calls, and legislative sessions to try to get the best bicycle infrastructure and support for our region.

Here are some of our major victories over the past year:

 

  • MCDOT Rescinds Capital Crescent Trail Request: In August the Montgomery County Department of Transportation quietly requested that the Maryland Transit Administration remove a tunnel under Jones Mill Road for the Capital Crescent Trail, despite a long-standing plan to build a completely grade-separated trail from Bethesda to Silver Spring along the Purple Line. WABA asked members in Montgomery County to contact the County Council asking to keep the safe trail crossing. MCDOT rescinded their request and the tunnel will be built.
  • Safe Accommodations during Construction in DC: The Bicycle Safety Amendment Act of 2013 includes a provision which requires future construction permits to provide “safe accommodations” for bicyclists and pedestrians.
  • A Rebuilt Rock Creek Park Trail is One Step Closer: At the end of June, the District Department of Transportation released the Final Environmental Assessment for the rehabilitation of the Rock Creek Park Multi-Use Trail. The final design could not be completed without this environmental document, which was holding up construction. DDOT and NPS can now finalize the design, and construction could begin in some sections as early as next year.

More victories are ahead with your support! The first 500 people to join or renew this week will receive a limited edition “I bike. I vote. @ I’m a WABA Member” t-shirts. T-shirts can be picked up on October 17 from 5:30-8:00 PM at Beirgarten Haus on H st. or will be shipped the week after.

Thanks Levi’s! Check out their Commuter Line

Commuter_Logo_blackWhen you get to Biergarten House for the Membership Drive Happy Hour on Friday, raise a beer to Levi’s who is helping to sponsor the evening. They have also donated some terrific giveaways for a special member raffle!

We’re so pleased that Levi’s has taken lots of input from daily cyclists and used that to create their  Commuter series line. Designed with features that will allow bicyclists to pedal in comfort and style, it’s definitely worth checking out. There’s lots of cool features like a special hook for your lock, reflective cuffs, high-performance fabrics that are dirt resistant and water repellent too. Utility in fashion has been tough to find for our daily cycling needs. Cool to see that a major brand like Levi’s has seen the potential and is tailoring the product for this growing market.  Come check out some of the goods for yourself Friday!

Levi’s Bike Commuter line #commuter @Levis

Levi’s plans to launch their women’s bike commuter jean in the spring.