Introducing Excella Consulting, a WABA Business 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 Excella Consulting.

Excella Consulting is a technology consulting firm based in Arlington, VA, but with strong community roots all over the Washington, DC region. Their ability to transform big problems into lasting solutions through technology stems from their team of everyday superstars and great office culture. Excella employees can expect fun perks like an in-house award-winning Rock n’ Roll band, monthly catered lunches, and, of course, bike commuting incentives. They are actively recruiting smart, talented individuals, so if Excella sounds like a good fit for you get in touch!

Partner David Neumann has been riding, commuting, and racing on bikes for 30 years, and has led Excella in supporting the bicycling community on many fronts since 2011, when it became a Silver Level Bicycle Friendly Business and Corporate Member of the League of American Bicyclists. Excella also sponsors the Veloworks-Spokes, Etc racing team. We are excited to have such a strong part of the biking community become a WABA Business Member and lend its support in making the DC area better for anyone riding a bike.

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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.

 

Introducing DC Cycling Concierge, a WABA Business 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 DC Cycling Concierge.

We all know bikes are the best way to explore DC and the region. Now there is a new business offering fully customized and guided rides to make this safe, easy and fun for visitors or anyone who wants a personal cycling assistant. DC Cycling Concierge is WABA’s newest Business Member, and is the venture of longtime local and national advocate Jeff Miller, former CEO of the Alliance for Biking & Walking and longtime WABA Member.

In the words of Jeff himself, “Cycling is my passion. DC is my city. Becoming the DC Cycling Concierge is not just a new business — it’s an extension of my life’s work to share the benefits and joys of bicycling.”

“Your Ride, Your Pace” is his motto. Want to go for a 30 or 40 mile road ride? Great! Whether it is for training or to just get in some fun miles and hit a coffee shop, your ride can be customized to meet your goals. Or maybe you want to do something completely different. Rides around the major landmarks or some of the lesser-known sites around DC are just as easy to arrange. For instance Jeff’s Rising Tides of DC Tour flows around well-known landmarks that were once waterways or that are flood prone.

And while his initial focus is on recreation and fitness rides, Jeff is also happy to help new commuters who want a little extra assistance. He provides a free consultation to make certain folks know about all the great resources that WABA and others already have. If a bicyclist wants to have some help planning the best route and a partner to ride with them the first couple of times, DC Cycling Concierge can help.

Take advantage of Jeff’s decades of experience cycling across more than 20 countries around the world, as well as through every corner of DC, to create the perfect customized ride for you and your family or friends.

Find out more about the launch at the DC Cycling Concierge Indiegogo page and be sure to check out Jeff’s fun 3-minute video in the Indiegogo Gallery or on YouTube.

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.

What’s Next for the Contributory Negligence Bill?

Yesterday, the Judiciary Committee voted 3-0 to move the Motor Vehicle Collision Recovery Act out of committee and recommended it for consideration by the full D.C. Council.

The version of the bill that came to markup had two minor but substantive changes from the one that was introduced last January. First, it now includes a definition of “non-motorized user” to mean “an individual using a skateboard, non-motorized scooter, Segway, tricycle, and other similar non-powered transportation devices.” These vulnerable road users are now explicitly  covered by the bill, in addition to bicyclists and pedestrians.

Secondly, the bill expressly retains the last clear chance doctrine, something that is already available under the law in the District. Reserving it will likely result in greater protection for bicyclists, because in circumstances where the bicyclist is contributorily negligent, for example, where the bicyclist’s negligence exceeds 50% of the harm, the bicyclist still has the last clear chance doctrine at his or her disposal, which would allow the bicyclist to recover— even if the bicyclist was contributorily negligent— when the motorist had the last clear chance to avoid the collision. In our view, it cuts in favor of bicyclists. We support both changes to the bill.

What’s Next?

We’re not done yet! The bill will now be considered by the full DC Council when it meets as the Committee of the Whole sometime before summer recess. It needs seven votes to pass the Council, and the Mayor’s signature to become law. The bill’s sponsors are Councilmembers Cheh, Grosso, Evans, Bonds, and Allen; Councilmember Alexander is a co-sponsor.

We are closer than we’ve ever been to fixing this obvious problem in the law—something we’ve been told couldn’t be done. Our opponents didn’t think could be done, and they’re still working to keep the legislation from becoming law.  Between now and the final vote, we’ll need to do everything we can to make sure we have sufficient support on the full Council. Keep your eyes out for action alerts about opportunities for further public comment and testimony as they arise. We’ll need everyone’s involvement to get this across the finish line.

UPDATE: Big legislative success this afternoon

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We just got back from the Wilson Building and we’ll have a more thorough update soon, but I wanted to make sure you knew that the Motor Vehicle Collision Recovery Act to address contributory negligence passed a markup hearing in the Judiciary Committee just a few hours ago. This is great news.

You probably have the background, just in case, here’s a summary of how contributory negligence hurts you as a bicyclist and pedestrian in the District of Columbia.

We’ve been working on this for years, and it’s thrilling to be so close to fixing this terrible legal doctrine. Thanks to everyone who called, wrote, petitioned, testified, and championed this work. Thanks for standing up for vulnerable road users across the District.

But we obviously can’t celebrate just yet. The bill still has to go before the full D.C. Council. Considering the powerful forces protecting the status quo, we’ve pushed much further than anyone would have expected. This is long overdue, we think we can win, but we need your help.

Please donate today to help us see this through to the end.

Our advocacy work takes time, and that doesn’t happen without support from folks like you. WABA is 501(c)3 non-profit organization and all donations are tax-deductible. Please support this campaign with a donation of $25 or more today.

Our work on contributory negligence won’t stop until we’re rid of this dinosaur of a legal doctrine. Contribute today, so we can celebrate its extinction with you.

Dooring Bill is Now Law in Virginia!

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The Virginia General Assembly closed its 2016 legislative session on March 12th with some welcome news for bicyclists across the state and the Washington region. Thanks to the efforts of hundreds of Virginia residents, advocates, and legislators, SB 117, the “dooring” bill, passed both the Virginia House and Senate. On April 1, Governor Terry McAuliffe signed the bill into law.

SB 117 requires drivers to wait for a reasonable opportunity to open vehicle doors on the side adjacent to moving traffic. A violation constitutes a traffic infraction punishable by a fine of not more than $50. Getting “doored” is an all too common cause of crashes between bikes and cars, often resulting in severe injury to the bicyclist.

After many years of advocacy and many iterations of this bill, Virginia finally joins the District of Columbia, Maryland and 39 other states in placing responsibility with the driver to avoid dooring another road user. While codifying a new traffic infraction may not seem significant at first glance, it means a great deal to a bicyclist dealing with the aftermath of a dooring crash. Until now, a driver could blindly throw open their door into the path of a bicyclist, cause a crash, and drive away without citation or any legal responsibility. The law now correctly puts fault where it is due, and should help some bicyclists recover damages, even despite Virginia’s outdated contributory negligence standard.

Without question, this is a massive win! A special thank you goes to our partners at the Virginia Bicycling Federation for their tireless advocacy efforts on this legislative initiative.

Preventing Dooring

This law is very good news for anyone who gets doored in Virginia, but every road user has a role to play in preventing dooring crashes. Here are a few tips.

Drivers & Passengers

  • Before opening your door, check behind you. Use your mirror and turn your body to look before opening a car door, especially when inside the car.
  • Open car doors slowly.
  • Adopt this habit; Release the latch of the driver side door with your right hand. This practice forces you to look behind you before opening the door.
  • Remind passengers to check it’s clear to open their car door before they exit.

Bicyclists

  • Avoid riding in the “door zone.”  Car doors can extend 4-5 feet from a car and open quickly. Leave 3-5 feet between you and parked cars. On narrow streets, many bike lanes are placed in the “door zone,” so hug the left side of the lane.
  • Stay alert: Keep your eyes up, scan for activity ahead of you, and be on the lookout for drivers and passengers inside cars.
  • Be predictable and visible: Ride in a straight line and ride where drivers expect bicyclists to be. Use a front light when riding at night.
  • Learn and practice crash avoidance maneuvers: Take a City Cycling Class with WABA.

Other Legislation

Another bill, SB 669 was continued in the House Transportation Committee to 2017. SB 669 would have removed a disincentive for cities and towns to replace traffic lanes with bike lanes. Currently, highway maintenance funding is calculated based on the number of lane miles the city or town maintains. Under this bill, municipalities would not have their maintenance funding reduced if motor vehicle lane miles are converted to bicycle-only lanes. This would have helped municipalities wishing to engage in traffic calming, road diets, and other street safety projects.

This bill made significant headway, passing in the Senate, but never made it out of the House Transportation Committee. continued to 2017. This means that this bill will be back on the calendar for the 2017 legislative session.

Alexandria Bike Campus: Miles’ Story

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Last week, we announced our plan to turn an unused parking lot into the region’s first ever bike campus. Thanks to our members, we’re halfway to our fundraising goal!

The total cost of the project is around $55,000. We’re trying to secure $35,000 in grants and sponsorships, and we need your help to cover the remaining costs.

Before we ask you to make a donation, we want to highlight one of our members and why he and his family support the Alexandria Bike Campus. Miles learned to ride in the city as an adult, and taught his daughter to ride at—you guessed it—Jones Point Park.

Hello!

My name’s Miles and I really don’t know what I’d do without my bike. I wasn’t born a bicyclist, I learned in an old orchard as a kid. Although I crashed into trees, I never had to worry about how to bike sensibly with cars, pedestrians, and other people on bikes.

It was years later, in my early thirties, before I was comfortable riding in the street at all. Now I ride my bike to work 25 miles a day. Think of all those lost years between the orchard and the city streets! It was a difficult process. Even as an adult, I had a hard time getting comfortable and and feeling safe and learning to be courteous around other people moving through the city.

It’s even harder for kids. My kids didn’t have an orchard to learn in, but places like Jones Point park are a good environment to teach kids how to fall in love with biking. It’s great: safe, flat, bathrooms nearby, and a relaxing setting by the river.

I’m thrilled to learn about WABA’s proposed bike campus. I love the idea of a fun practice course that models our city streets, because we need a dedicated space to teach people how to ride safely around town. Think of all the years of lost biking joy we can spare them! Think of all the family excursions they’ll be able to take if they can learn someplace safe! Imagine how much more fun we’d have if everyone learned at a young age how to love biking and how to bike safely around town!

Thank you, WABA!

Miles’ confident new rider!

Sincerely,
Miles

We need $11,750 to make the Alexandria Bike Campus a reality.

Announcing the Tour de Fat 2016 line up!

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Tour de Fat is the coolest bicycle festival you will ever attend.

There’s really great craft beer, funky bikes that you can test out, and FREE music and entertainment! PLUS, Tour de Fat is one of WABA’s biggest fundraisers of the year, so you’ve definitely got to make it!

Announcing the 2016 Line Up:

We’re excited to announce that Los Amigos Invisibles and Esmé Patterson will be performing at on Saturday, May 21, 2016 at the Tour de Fat at Yards Park!

TDF poster 2016

Los Amigos Invisibles have developed a sound based on the “gozadera,” an irresistible fusion of Latin rhythms with fiery funk and lounge music.

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Esmé Patterson plays soulful dream-rock tunes and hails from Denver, Colorado.

Esme Patterson

RSVP and invite your friends, your dog, and your Mom on Facebook here!

Tour de Fat Schedule:

SCHEDULE «
10:00 am – Ride Registration opens (pre-register here!)
11:00 am – Parade-style Bike Ride departs from Yards Park
12:00 pm – Fashion! Show and Tapping of the Kegs
1:00 pm – Esmé Patterson Band
2:15 pm – The Bike is Right! Game Show to win a 2016 New Belgium bike
2:45 pm – Car For Bike Trade
3:40 pm – Los Amigos Invisibles
5:00 pm – Adios Amigos! (curfew)

Did you Know?!

We also wanted to make sure you knew everything you needed to know in preparation for this year’s Tour de Fat so that we can all make it the BIGGEST and BEST Tour de Fat that DC has ever seen:

  • Did you know that wacky costumes are the norm? The sillier and more outlandish, the better!
  • Did you know that you can pre-register for the kick-off bike ride so that you can skip the lines and crowds the morning of?
  • Did you know that you can get some SWEEEEET New Belgium swag, like sunglasses, a limited edition 2016 patch, or a license plate for your bike, when you pre-register for the ride?
  • Did you know that New Belgium Brewing will have TONS of craft beer at the festival for sale for just five bucks?
  • Did you know that ADMISSION AND HIGH FIVES ARE FREE at the Tour de Fat?!
  • And did you know that all the proceeds from the event benefit WABA?

We’ll see you on Saturday, May 21st for the Tour de Fat at Yards Park in DC!