New Stickers for Taxicabs, Safer Streets for Bicyclists

Taxi cabs in New York City display a “Look for cyclists” sticker to warn passengers of passing bicyclists. Photo credit: NYCDOT

Written by Women & Bicycles Community Member Lucy Aguirre

A victory for all people who bike! In an effort to prevent bicyclists from getting “doored”, the DC Taxicab Commission recently approved a new rule mandating taxicabs to display “LOOK FOR CYCLISTS” stickers.

I’ve heard too many stories about bicyclists getting “doored”. The first story I heard involved a roommate who was biking home from work, cruising safely in the bike lane until a taxicab suddenly stopped at a green light. A passenger opened the rear right door in the path of my unsuspecting friend, flinging her and her new Trek road bike straight into the pavement. Luckily she wasn’t seriously hurt; however, she was traumatized in other ways. “My desire and love of bicycling was crushed,” she said. “It destroyed my confidence and I was scared to bike again. Although that was five years ago, I still feel a little bit of that fear.”

It is simply unacceptable that inattentive drivers and passengers have injured so many bicyclists with their car door. Opening a car door into any moving traffic is illegal and very dangerous for vulnerable road users. Bicyclists are often unable to stop fast enough to avoid a crash, especially when doored from the side.

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Dan Connor was doored by a NYC taxicab. The video of crash went viral in 2014. Photo credit: Dan Connor

This is not an isolated problem. Several bicyclists in New York City were doored and killed, leading the city government to action. The NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission now requires “Look for Cyclists” stickers in taxicabs in an effort to prevent such incidents. After the latest DC dooring incident was reported to WABA’s Women & Bicycles group, I was compelled to advocate for “Look for Cyclists” stickers for taxis in DC too.

While the timeline for design and installation of the new safety stickers is not yet finalized, we hope you see them in a DC taxicab soon. Thank you to DC Councilmember Mary Cheh and DC Taxicab Commission Chairman Eric Rogers for recognizing this public safety issue and rapidly responding to implement this simple solution.

Haulin’ Our Way to Crystal City on WABA’s First Arlington Community Ride

Our spring Community Ride series is in full swing, and last Wednesday we made our debut in Arlington with Haulin’—a community ride about moving and grooving with everything you need to carry on a bike.

We explored the Pentagon City and Crystal City neighborhoods, saw a wide variety of bike facilities including the Four Mile Run trail and the new protected bikeways on South Hayes Street.

At the end of the ride, we learned about the Fixit Station—a great new innovation put in place by the Crystal City BID. At the access point to the Mount Vernon Trail on Crystal Drive, you can pump up your tires, use tools for minor adjustments, fill your water bottle, and even buy spare parts from a bike vending machine!

After the ride was over, the whole group headed to the San Antonio Grill for delicious tacos.

Education Coordinator Daniel Hoagland introduces the group to bike sharing.

Education Coordinator Daniel Hoagland introduces the group to bike sharing.

Thank you to Bike Arlington, the Crystal City BID, and the San Antonio Grill for helping make our Haulin’ Ride a big success!

Join us for more Community Rides in May and June!

Pennsylvania Ave Now has Protected Bike Lanes

DDOT is installing rubber parking curb today to prevent illegal and dangerous U-turns across the Pennsylvania Ave NW bike lanes. Photo credit: @DDOTDC

The District Department of Transportation announced Friday that they will install protective rubber parking curbs along the Pennsylvania Ave NW bike lanes. Installation of the rubber parking stops began Friday morning and is expected to be completed within the next week (or two).

DDOT Director Leif Dormsjo and Associate Deputy for Policy Sam Zimbabwe made the announcement Friday morning at the Freedom Plaza Bike to Work Day Pit Stop. “Following extensive formal observation of the traffic patterns on this segment of Pennsylvania Avenue NW, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) has determined that low-profile barriers are effective at discouraging drivers from making illegal U-turns” wrote in their Letter to WABA.

Penn Ave Park-it LetterFour people biking on Pennsylvania Ave NW were struck by U-turning drivers since the beginning of April this year. There have been countless crashes since the installations of the bike lanes in 2010. Earlier this month, we counted 13 illegal U-turns across a single block of bike lanes. WABA kept up the pressure for the installation of a physical barrier and better enforcement to protect people biking on Pennsylvania Ave NW.

We would like to thank DDOT for hearing our calls for increased safety on Pennsylvania Ave NW. We know can officially call them the Pennsylvania Ave Protected Bike Lanes.

I biked to work today, now what?

Thank you for participating in Bike to Work Day today. You – and thousands of other DC, Maryland, and Virginia residents – rode your bicycle, and that is something to be celebrated.

You are probably wondering: what happens next?

General WABA - Bikes in front of Capitol B&W

Here’s some frequently asked questions we get after Bike to Work Day happens, and helpful answers for you:

Q: I’m a regular bike commuter, so do I just bike to work again Monday, like I do everyday, without all the fanfare and free stuff?
A: Yes. And if you happen to bike by the WABA office on your commute, you’re more than welcome to stop in during business hours (9am-5pm) for a free double high five… Or just high five your co-workers.

Q: Since this was only the third time I’ve biked to work, I still feel like a newbie. should I try it again next week?
A: Yes! Keep going, you are doing great! If you are interested in learning some new skills try one of our City Cycling Classes or Community Rides!

Q: Should I go to this silly sounding bicycle festival I heard about on May 30th at Yards Park called Tour de … something?
A: Yes!!!

Q: Should I go to the Tour de Fat even if I don’t like beer?
A: Definitely yes. The festival is free to attend, and there will be a bunch of food trucks with food and non-alcoholic drinks. Plus, the event is family friendly and has a kids specific area.

Q: So when is this bicycle festival?
A: Saturday, May 30th at Yards Park, DC. The pre-festival bike ride that WABA leads leaves Yards Park at 11am and you don’t want to miss that (so get there by 10:30am!). And the festival itself starts at 12pm and goes until 5pm. More details here.

Q: I had so much fun on Bike to Work Day. I really enjoy biking and I wish there were more bike lanes! How can we get more bicycle infrastructure across the region? How can I help convince everyone to give bicycling a try?
A: The Washington Area Bicyclist Association works very hard every day to advocate for betting bicycling across the region and to make bicycling accessible, normal, fun and low-stress for everyone. You can support our advocacy and outreach work by joining the WABA community as a member. Today, you can join for just $25 and help support our efforts to make bicycling better for you for the next year.

 

After the show it’s the after party

Bike to Work Day is BIG this year, with 79 pit stops located across the entire region! We definitely want you to register for Bike to Work Day and participate in an official pit stop on your way to work on Friday morning (Bike to Work Day is Friday May 15th, in case you missed it…).

And in case you still want to celebrate after you bike to work, here are some after work celebrations of Bike to Work Day. (These celebrations are organized by partners, friends and sponsors of Bike to Work Day, but are not official pitstops/COG/WABA events.)

So grab a friend, co-worker, or someone you meet on the ride home and continue to celebrate bicycling at one of these parties:

Photo courtesy of Joe Flood from the WABA Flickr Pool

Photo courtesy of Joe in DC from the WABA Flickr Pool

Whole Foods’ After Work Party: Bethesda, MD

Fri., May 15th from 4pm to 7pm at Whole Foods Market, 5269 River Road, Bethesda, MD. Why you should celebrate here: It’s located right off the Capital Crescent Trail and there will be cheap eats, raffle prizes and freebies.

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Atlas Brew Works’ Half Price Pints: NE Washington, DC

Fri., May 15th from 4pm to 9pm at Atlas Brew Works, 2052 West Virginia Avenue NE, Washington DC. Why you should celebrate here: Half price pints for anyone on two wheels. Craft beer at a good price, and the fact that a local brewery is celebrating bicycling! Here’s the link to their event on Facebook – tell your friends.

 


Do you know of other Bike to Work Day celebrations going on in MD, VA or DC the afternoon or evening of Friday, May 15th in honor of everyone commuting on two-wheels? Let us know by tweeting @wabadc!

How to Prepare for Bike to Work Day

Bike to Work Day is in two days! But don’t freak out, WABA is here to make sure you and your bicycle are ready for your commute to work. (Procrastinator? There is still time – Sign up here!)

Whether it’s your 500th time biking to work, your first time in years, or your very first time ever: WE ARE SO HAPPY THAT YOU CHOSE TO COMMUTE ON TWO WHEELS.

Yes, you may get a little sweaty (that’s what work place bathrooms and deodorant are for). Yes, you may have helmet hair all day (tell everyone you’re going for the grunge chic look). And yes, you may just smile on the way to work (biking = happiness).

Here’s our top five tips to make your commute on Friday easy and enjoyable:

1. Get your bicycle ready before Friday morning.

One of the worst feelings is going to roll out your trusty stead just to realize that the air in your tires is low or that your breaks are too lose. Go ahead and check over everything tonight or Thursday to make sure you and your bicycle are ready to roll on Friday. You can read about what to check for on your bicycle here.

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2. Dress for success.

Don’t feel comfortable biking in your business casual clothes? That’s totally fine. Dress for success on the bike. Wear shorts and a t-shirt and carry your work clothes (neatly folded) in a pannier if you have a rack or in a back pack, and then sneak into the office and change before going to your desk. Or if you work in a more casual setting, plan to wear light weight clothing and layers that you can peel off if you get a little toasty on the ride. How else do you think the “all powerful bike lobby” always looks so good?

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3. Plan your route.

Make sure you know the best way to bike to your pit stop and then from there to work. Google Maps has a handy “biking” tool, so you just put in your starting and ending point and then click the bicycle icon and they will give you suggested biking routes. Additionally, under “Getting Around” on the map, select the “Bicycling” function and the map will highlight in green where bike lanes and “suggested roads for bicycling” are located. One extra tip: if you’re taking a route for the first time, write down the directions on piece of paper that you stick in your pocket or tape to your handlebars.

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4. Find a bike buddy.

It’s not too late to text your friend, knock on your neighbors door, or email a co-worker and invite them to bike with you. That way you have someone to help navigate or laugh with you when your pant leg gets caught in your chain – plus it will be an extra special day if you get a friend to bike with you who wouldn’t have considered commuting on two-wheels if it wasn’t for you. Are you the shy type or just the world’s worst person in the morning? Sometimes a solo bike ride is just the thing to get you feeling alive and refreshed – and you’ll get to wave or smile to bike buddies you pass by on the ride.

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5. Enjoy the ride.

Biking should be all about enjoying your ride. Just think: it’s less stressful that sitting in a traffic jam on the Beltway and the fresh air is much better for you than breathing in that that stale underground smell for two hours. So on Friday, take it slow, take it easy, smile when you pedal, follow traffic laws, bike safely and enjoy the ride.

enjoy the ride

Haven’t yet signed up for Bike to Work Day? It’s not too late! Sign up here to be eligible for bike giveaways, raffle prizes and the free breakfast snacks at your pit stop.

Seeking a Part-Time Women & Bicycles Program Coordinator

april events WB
The Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) is looking for a part-time coordinator for the Women & Bicycles program, an innovative grassroots approach inspiring more women to bike, teach, advocate, and lead the bike movement.

The Women & Bicycles program was created in 2012 to increase bike commuting modeshare among women (26% in D.C., 21% in MD, and 26% in VA), by creating a close-knit community for women who already bike and inspiring this community to facilitate mentorship with the women in their own lives who don’t already bike. The 3,200+ community is energetic, welcoming, diverse, respectful, eager to learn, eager to share, and is thriving both online and offline.

The program consists of monthly workshops, monthly rides, monthly social events, an online forum and facilitating mentorship. The heart of the program is peer-to-peer mentorship through volunteer Roll Models. Roll Models are women who already bike and commit to recruiting 5-10 biking protégés from their personal networks. The protégés are invited to a dinner party with their mentor and use conversation and our comprehensive biking guide to work through all their personal questions, concerns, and unknowns when it comes to biking.

The Women & Bicycles Coordinator is responsible for all aspects of the Women & Bicycles program, including Roll Model recruitment, training and coordination, event coordination,  online forum support, and developing strategies to grow the program in a way that is successful, sustainable, and equitable. The position will report to WABA’s Outreach Coordinator.

Responsibilities

 The Women & Bicycles Coordinator will:

  1. Develop and implement Women & Bicycles events, including: partner coordination, content development, scheduling, planning, promotion, volunteer coordination, packing and unpacking, staffing events, and recap.
  2. Recruit, train, coordinate, engage, the Women & Bicycles Roll Models and track their success.
  3. Work to create new partner relationships with non-traditional cycling groups to build the reach and resources of Women & Bicycles across diverse networks throughout the region.
  4. Facilitate the Women & Bicycle forum and its guidelines to maintain its culture of respect, information-sharing, and joy.

Preferred Qualifications

 The ideal candidate will have:

  1. A strong commitment to WABA’s mission and be a skillful and committed bicyclist with a solid understanding of the principles of bicycling safety and traffic law.
  2. Experience in: project management, events planning/management, marketing and/or volunteer coordination.
  3. Excellent writing, presentation and public speaking skills.
  4. A flexible schedule and willingness to work evenings and weekends as needed.
  5. Experience with Microsoft Office, Google Docs, Facebook and Twitter.
  6. The ability to organize time wisely and multi-task in a relaxed, fun environment, and independently.

This position is part-time, 20 hours/week and compensation is $14 per hour.

 About the Washington Area Bicyclist Association

Making bicycling better through advocacy and education, WABA promotes biking as a healthy, low-cost, and environmentally-friendly form of transportation and recreation. With 5,000 members region-wide, WABA serves bicyclists throughout the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area, including the District of Columbia and parts of Maryland and Virginia.

Contact

Send a cover letter with a resume to jobs@waba.org.  No phone calls please. Position available immediately. Applications accepted until the position is filled.

WABA is committed to providing equal employment opportunity for all persons regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, marital status, political affiliation, sexual orientation or gender identity, disability, sex or age.


 

Women & Bicycles is proudly supported by The Potomac Pedalers Touring Club; hosts of the region’s most robust all-level group ride calendar and bike tailgates, Chipotle our delicious dinner party sponsors, and  we’re supported by all our friends who donated through the Hains Point 100 ride.

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