D.C. needs better crash reporting.

crash-night-social-aspect-ratioVision Zero, the District’s plan to end traffic death and serious injury, is a data driven program. WABA recently analyzed the quality and accessiblilty of the District’s crash data and found it lacking in a few key ways.

You can read the full report here (PDF), but our primary concerns are threefold:

  1. The form that the Metropolitan Police Department uses to report crashes does not ask for several pieces of critical information in crashes involving bicycles or pedestrians. Among others, it lacks a field for reporting whether or not a bicyclists was in a bike lane when they were hit. The federal government has a set of recommendations for this type of form, but MPD has not adopted them.
  2. Crash data is not integrated with medical data. This makes it difficult to accurately track the severity of crash injuries or to analyze the public health consequences of crashes. The federal government developed software tools to help integrate this data, and offers funding to implement it.
  3. Crash data is functionally inaccessible to the public. At present, the only way to access data about crashes is through the FOIA process, which is cumbersome and inconsistent. Crash data should be disclosed to the public automatically, in a timely and intuitive manner, as is done in several other U.S. cities.

Policymakers make important decisions about infrastructure and traffic enforcement based on available crash data, so when police reports contain incomplete or incorrect information, or aren’t filed at all (which can also happen with bike crashes), the consequences are long lasting.  Flawed data can lead to flawed conclusions.

WABA assembled a set of recommendations in a letter to the Mayor Bowser last month. When the Mayor responds formally to our letter, we will publish her reply to the blog.

Women & Bicycles Photo Series: Adina Forbes Crawford and Sherri Joyner

The Women & Bicycles Photo Series (#WBPhotoSeries) is a new project in the program that aims to demonstrate and promote the great and diverse group of women that make up the W&B community.

As well as appearing on the group’s Facebook page and on Instagram, these features – a brief quote and accompanying photograph of the woman participating – will be published in a periodic consolidation of the portraits right here on this blog! I am handing off this project to the wonderful Women & Bicycles Program Coordinator, Renée Moore, so for more information about the project, send her an email at renee.moore@waba.org.

Adina Forbes Crawford, Germantown, MD

The first big bike event I did was Bike NY, four or five years ago. Oh, and it was amazing. And going in, you know, I was wondering how I was going to do 44 miles when I hadn’t even done 20. But, you know what? I put my head to the grindstone and I said yes – I’m gonna get a bike and I’m gonna train and I’m gonna do it. And I did it.”


Sherri Joyner, West Hyattsville, MD

“I used to ride around all over D.C. Now, we’re talking back in the 80s, you know. And it just felt so simple. I just jumped on a bike and was off riding. We, me and my riding friends, also had a penchant for riding at night. Yeah, that was great.

Then, flashing up to now, bicycling’s like this major subject. It feels like there are so many more categories of riders and types of bikes and all sorts of things. And it’s so true that in this group, Women & Bicycles, I see all of it; there’s the serious riders, the “just having fun” riders, the cool “messenger” type, all of them. Just everything is out there, and it makes me so delighted!”

(Thanks for sharing this photo with us, Sherri!)

(Thanks for sharing this photo with us, Sherri!)


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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Councilmember Nadeau’s Top Ward 1 Bike Lane Projects


Councilmember Nadeau (Ward 1) joins the DC Bike Ambassador for street outreach in Columbia Heights.

Councilmember Brianne Nadeau (Ward 1) sent a letter today to the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) Director Leif Dormsjo in support of several priority bike lane projects for Ward 1. The list of projects recognizes the needs to close important gaps in the bike lane network.

Nadeau’s letter expresses support for the construction of protected bike lanes whenever possible: “Protected bike lanes have many benefits including safety and fewer illegal parking problems, which is why I have been an advocate for them since my time as an ANC [Commissioner]. Welcoming bike lanes also discourage bicyclists from using the sidewalk instead of the street.”

The priority projects for Ward 1 are:

  • 15th St NW protected bike lane extension north from V St. NW to Euclid St NW
  • 14th St NW protected bike lane and a connection of the bike lane gap between Euclid St NW and Florida Ave NW
  • 11th St NW protected bike lane and an extension to Spring Rd (and then to Kansas Ave NW)
  • Completion of the Florida Ave streetscape project between Sherman Ave and U St NW
  • Support for the eastern downtown protected bike lane study and rapid implementation of its findings

Thank you Councilmember Nadeau for your support of safer and more convenient bicycle access in Ward 1.


Bike Camp 2015: A Hubcap Recap

What do you get when you mix 14 enthusiastic campers, a whole city to explore by bike, bicycles to repair, and two sunny weeks of summer?

bike camp logo over transparent


In July, WABA held its first Bike Camp this year for children age 8-12. During the inaugural two-week session campers explored D.C. by bike, repaired and re-built bikes, and made new friends they can go on bike rides with!

We visited museums and iconic Washington D.C. sights. We saw the different types of bicycle infrastructure around the city and learned how to hand-signal, bike as a group, and master skills like looking over our shoulder. We biked down to the Metropolitan Branch Trail and helped the Trail Rangers do trail work. In two weeks we biked over 50 miles!

We partnered with Gearin’ Up Bicycles to provide mechanics education for our campers. Each camper received a bike in non-working condition. Gearin’ Up’s Zack led the campers in sessions covering everything from changing a flat tire, to re-cabling brakes and derailleurs, to adjusting limit screws (and A LOT more)! They embraced the chain grease and became wrench experts. By the end of camp everyone finished their bikes and took a successful test ride!

We thoroughly enjoyed our first year of Bike Camp and are already looking forward to many more summers of WABA Bike Camp in the future!

We would like to extend a big thank you to all of our community partners we visited during Bike Camp and a special shout-out/thank you/you rock to all of our Bike Camp volunteers!

If you would to be put on the interest list for information on future sessions of WABA Bike Camp e-mail education@waba.org.

Fabulous Fun at the Trail Ranger Scavenger Hunt!

The Anacostia Riverwalk Trail was alive with hearty adventurers, creativity and merriment at the Treasures of the River Trail. Now in its second year, the Trail Ranger scavenger hunt saw teams explore the hidden corners of the twelve mile trail system, compete for fabulous prizes (big thank you to Blue Jacket!),  and put their ingenuity to test. Herons, egrets and cormorants were spotted, fantastic sturdy boats were built, and forts found. It was a great afternoon to introduce new and familiar faces to the many treasures of the trail!

Welcome Greg Billing, WABA’s new Executive Director

by Mark Blacknell, President of the WABA Board

The Washington Area Bicyclist Association Board of Directors and I are excited to announce the appointment of Greg Billing to serve as the organization’s next Executive Director.

You’ve probably received emails from Greg before—he has been with the organization for more than five years, most recently as our Advocacy Coordinator. During his tenure, Greg led WABA’s transition to “bicycling for all” advocacy, which focuses on inclusive, comfortable and safe infrastructure and public policies to support growing ridership.

Greg Billing at Bike to Work Day 2015

Greg Billing at Bike to Work Day 2015

In his own words, “I fell in love with this city by exploring it on my bike. There’s no better way to meet neighbors and connect to the community. I am thrilled to lead the amazing team at WABA as we work to bring access to bicycling to everyone in the region.”

And: “The next chapter for WABA will be exciting as we expand to serve the growing number of everyday and casual riders. We will focus on becoming more inclusive, open and transparent.”

I and the rest of the board are particularly excited about Greg’s leadership. He has many talents, but his ability to help others understand what takes to makes our streets safe for everyone is amazing.  We look forward to working with Greg to make sure that WABA’s capacity to achieve its mission grows significantly in the years to come.

In the coming weeks, WABA will finalize and release a 5-year Strategic Plan—a bike map for the future of the organization. The Strategic Plan presents a vision that recognizes the historic growth and popularity of bicycling in the region and provides a framework for continuing that growth.

Greg Billing begins his tenure as Executive Director immediately. Please welcome him at executivedirector@waba.org.


Mark Blacknell

WABA Board President.

How to Read a Cue Sheet


The first time I trained for a triathlon I rode with a bunch of cyclists on the roads of Texas. They handed us each a sheet of paper with directions on them similar to the one below:

bicycling cue sheet

courtesy eagleeyemaps.com

I skimmed it and like many of the other riders,  folded it up and stuck in my back pocket. I figured I would just follow the others in front of me. Well that seemed like a good plan except… I wasn’t fast enough to keep up with the guys. And I was left behind after the second turn. Unfortunately, I pulled out that sheet and had no idea what to do. I didn’t have a computer ( and this was before the days of Smartphones, can you believe that we had bikes back then too? LOL)  and I wasn’t sure how far I had ridden at that point. I rode around looking for my group for nearly an hour before I stopped at a gas station, asked for directions and rode my tired body back to my car. It was a horribly, frustrating experience.

So let’s take a quick lesson on how to read a cue sheet. It’s not nearly as hard as I thought. Now our rides are no-drop meaning no one gets left behind. But you may be on a ride with a different group and need to know this information.

First you will need a computer or app that will measure how far your distance. You can find some real good ones in a previous blog we’ve posted. Next is the symbols.

S= straight

X= cross

L= left

R= right

BL= bear left

BR= bear right

QR= quick right

QL= quick left

Once you know the symbols and which way to go, the next step is to pay attention to the street signs so you know which street to turn on. Lastly, you will need the computer for this part. The computer will tell you how far you have you to ride before you make a turn or go straight or bear left. Let’s look at the cue sheet again to see how it works.

bicycling cue sheet

courtesy eagleeyemaps.com

You would start at Deer Park, River Street & Madison St. Stay (S) straight on Madison and go 0.1 miles. Turn left at Main Street/ US 95 and travel for 2.4 miles. You should have now traveled a total of 2.5 miles which is what the last column is telling you.

Turn left again on North Creek RD and travel on it for 0.9 miles.  Then tun right on North Creek Rd and travel on it for 4.3 miles. Is it making sense now? With just a little practice you can now read a cue sheet.

You may want to invest in a handlebar cue sheet holder where you can place this in front so you can refer to it. Or get a bicycle clip to attach your cue sheet to. Now you are fully empowered to go on a ride, read the cue sheet’s directions and not get lost.

Happy biking!


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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