Old Georgetown Road in White Flint will have Bike Lanes!

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Some good news! Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett has announced an agreement between the MCDOT and the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) to reduce the number of car lanes on Old Georgetown Road. This will allow MCDOT to construct on-road bike lanes and an off-road shared use path between Hoya Street and Grand Park Avenue.

Last fall, we alerted our members and supported in Montgomery County Department of Transportation’s (MCDOT) plans for Old Georgetown Road. Draft plans for street did not include bike lanes, in direct contrast to the White Flint Master Plan. The response was overwhelming and the County heard the call for change.

Thank you to County Executive Leggett for responding to the call for safe streets for biking. The White Flint Master Plan is an ambitious endeavor to build a walkable and bikeable community. WABA will continue to hold our elected officials accountable to this vision.

WABA’s advocacy is supported by your membership dollars. Join or donate to WABA today.

Councilmember Cheh Introduces Bill for Crash Victims

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Councilmember Mary Cheh (Ward 3) introduced a bill in the D.C. Council to improve access to compensation for crash victims. Under current D.C. law, injured bicyclists and pedestrians can be completely denied compensation after a crash with a motor vehicle even if they were minimally negligent. In 2014,  Councilmember David Grosso (At-Large) introduced a similar bill, but it was ultimately tabled.

The Motor Vehicle Collision Recovery Act of 2015 addresses the same underlying issue of inappropriate denial of compensation to minimally negligent bicyclists, but with slightly different mechanics. Under the proposed bill, contributory negligence could not be used to deny coverage to a bicyclist or pedestrian who was 50% or less responsible for his or her own injuries.

When the bill is available online, we’ll provide deeper analysis and a link to the draft language. For more background about the issue of contributory negligence for crash victims, you can learn more by reading our blog post responding to the 10 most common question.

The bill was co-introduced by Councilmembers Charles Allen (Ward 6), Jack Evans (Ward 2), David Grosso (At-Large), Anita Bonds (At-Large) and co-sponsored by Yvette Alexander (Ward 7). The legislation was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, chaired by Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie (Ward 5). The Committee must hold a public hearing on the bill and a public mark-up meeting. If the bill were to successfully make it out of committee, the full D.C. Council would then weigh in.

As the bill moves through the legislative process, we will provide updates here on the WABA Blog and our campaign page. You can also sign-up for email updates about this campaigns and we’ll be sure to alert you when action is needed.

Thank you to Councilmember Cheh and today’s co-sponsors and co-introducers for moving this important legislation.

The Hains Point 100 raised over $8,000 for WABA!

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Hooray!

She did it! 300+ people did it! For a third year in a row Megan Jones coordinated and inspired the regional bike community to join together at Hains Point and ride in circles for 100 miles — in December. What a feat!

“I started the ride on a whim – as a personal challenge” Megan told us, “and then realized it could expand into a warm and welcoming atmosphere for my friends to come together and be active in a cold and dreary time. Three years later I can’t believe it’s grown to become such an awesome tool of encouragement and support. The ride is challenging and inspiring people who are new to biking – especially women. All that coupled with fundraising for WABA’s Women & Bicycles program. It’s more than I could have ever imagined!”

Thank you to all those who rode, donated, or sponsored the Hains Point 100. WABA is so grateful. You helped contribute over $8,000 for our Women & Bicycles program! We will still need to continue the fundraising drive again in March.  But don’t worry, the program will continue until then. We were inspired by Megan and partnered up with The Bike House to host The Coldest-est Day of the Year Ride this Sunday.

 

Bike Ambassadors and Education on Hiatus in DC

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The Green Trailer is taking a short break

As of January 1, 2015, WABA’s DC-based Bike Ambassador program and our DC education programs are on hiatus. The District Department of Transportation funds these programs through a contract with WABA, and our most recent contract ended at the end of 2014. This is not a sudden or unanticipated change, and we are confident that this break in programming will be short. We are awaiting the beginning of a new contracting process, and hope to be able to offer these programs again soon.

Our Virginia and Maryland programs are not affected, and all of our advocacy, outreach, and other work in the District will continue as planned.

Programs in the District affected by this hiatus include:

  • Bike KINDly outreach
  • DC Bike Ambassador trailers, light giveaways, and activities
  • Adult bike classes
  • In-school bike education

Nonprofit funding is cyclical, and contracting with government agencies takes time. Taken together, this means that there is sometimes a funding gap between the end of one contract and the beginning of the next. These gaps are frustrating but not unexpected. While these DC programs are shuttered, we hope the bike community will rise to the occasion, and ride in the spirit of our bike educators and Ambassadors! Help each other out, wave and smile, offer advice, be courteous and friendly, and make DC’s streets a great place to bike. We’ll come join you as soon as we can.

Please Note: This contract gap is not related to WABA’s year-end fundraising campaign, which was a great success! Thanks to everyone who contributed. We’ll have an update on that campaign soon. 

 

Introducing Street Wize Foundation, 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 the Street Wize Foundation.

You may recognize the Street Wize Foundation because they were one of WABA’s first Business Members. The Street Wize Foundation continues to educate youth about safe and proactive activities. Their programming even includes a Ride Safe! Bicycle Safety Program.

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The Ride Safe! Program uses a combination of in-classroom and on-street activities to education children kindergarten through high school! We are proud to called the Street Wize Foundation a Business Member!

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.

5 Key Campaigns for 2015

We have a spectacular opportunity to make biking in our region even better in 2015.

Below are five key campaigns that we here at WABA want to advance in the coming year.

These are big ideas that can move our region beyond what most of us would have dreamed of 10 years ago, but they are within reach. If we think bigger together and invest bigger together, we can make this vision a reality in 2015.

Complete Streets: More than just a slogan

It’s a commitment to ensuring that our public spaces are for everyone. That includes designing our roads to be safe for people of every age and skill level. WABA works every day—tracking plans in all of our jurisdictions, reviewing engineering drawings, riding problem areas, working with governments—to make sure every project we touch creates safe space for everyone who bikes.

When officials try to take away the right to travel by bike, or simply design without regard for people’s needs, we push back. Your donation helps us keep pushing.

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Future Trails: More than just a hope

Our trail network is growing—we make sure it stays healthy.

Our advocacy team helps new trail projects navigate our region’s complex bureaucratic terrain. Our Trail Rangers program, family rides, outreach, and cleanups keep your favorite trail growing and thriving.

Everyone in our region should be an easy ride away from a network of safe, connected off-road trails.  Your donation helps us get there.

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Green Lanes: More than just paint

They are next-generation protected bicycling infrastructure.

Protected bike lanes encourage people to take that first ride on the street, something they might not otherwise have considered. WABA, with the support of our members, is pushing for improvements and working behind the scenes planning, designing, and advocating to get them done. Your support helps us make more people feel safe riding a bike.

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Access to Justice: More than just an abstraction

We do not lose the protections of our laws when we ride a bike.

Our legal system does not adequately protect the rights of bicyclists, and that has to change to keep pace with the growth of bicycling. We are working hard every day to change laws, educate the police, hold officials accountable, connect injured cyclists with support and to ensure that the rights we have on paper are protected on the streets.

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Vision Zero: More than just a brand.

It’s actual changes to laws, policy and road design. Vision Zero is an unequivocal stance against trading lives for speed. Every jurisdiction in our region needs to adopt it fully and quickly.

People are dying on our roadways. Until that stops—until that number is ZERO—we must work harder.

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With your help, we can change the way roads are built, the way people move, and the way the law treats bicyclists. We know we can do it. WABA has a foundation 40 years deep. With your help, we can build a region where everyone can get where they’re going on a bike. Please donate today.

The 2014 WABA Holiday Party in Photos

We threw our annual WABA Member Holiday Party on Monday. We had a festive group of bicycle riders, bicycle lovers and bike advocates for an evening about bike cheer, holiday tidings, and chatting about the region’s growth in bicycling and bike infrastructure. Check out photos from the party below.

A great big thank you to Smith Public Trust in Brookland for hosting our party and providing space for bike parking. And a huge bicycle thank you to all of our raffle sponsors for donating items and helping WABA raise funds that will help continue our work into the new year: BicycleSPACE, 9:30 Club, Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, Molly Fitzgerald, and our friends at City Bikes. We are so grateful for your support.

 

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