Want the bike of your dreams?

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Last year’s 2015 Tour de Fat DC Car for Bike Trader, Alison!

Want the chance to get the bike of your dreams? All that shiny steel or light weight carbon…. Who needs a car these days anyways…

Well at this year’s Tour de Fat on Saturday, May 21st, New Belgium Brewing Company will be choosing one person to trade in their car for $2,250 to a bike shop of their choice for a brand new bicycle!

In every Tour de Fat city, one brave role model will step on stage to trade in his or her car keys and pledge to live car free for one year. Each swapper is awarded a $2,250 stipend to buy their own commuter bike and receives rock star status when the crowd goes wild in support of their commitment. Car for Bike Swappers are chosen after submitting an application describing why they are ready to give up their vehicle for the gift of two wheels.

To apply: Potential swappers must post a 2 minute video submission (it should address why you want to go car-free and commit to biking full-time) to the New Belgium Facebook Page and DC’s Tour de Fat Facebook event page. After the winning applicant is chosen they will get to build their perfect car replacement bike with the shop of their choosing. New Belgium will award the swapper $2,250 total to spend on a bike and accessories. In exchange, the trader commits to being car free for at least one year and to share their experience along the way. Vehicles for Charity will auction the cars, with proceeds benefiting local cycling organizations.

Videos must be submitted by the Wednesday, May 18th. For questions, please email trademycarforabike@newbelgium.com.

You can check out Kristin’s Car for Bike Trader video from the 2014 DC Tour de Fat for a bit of guidance.

 

A law that blames you, instead of the driver who hit you, could soon meet its end

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In 2008, a driver in a minivan hit me (Tracy) when I was riding my bike on Connecticut Avenue, fracturing my pelvis in three places. The driver’s insurance company denied my claim because of a law that says if you’re even 1% at fault, you can’t collect anything. The good news? DC is moving to change this.

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At a press conference announcing the bill in 2014

Currently, DC, Maryland, and Virginia use what’s called a pure contributory negligence standard to decide who pays what damages after a vehicle collision involving someone on bike or foot. I wrote about contributory negligence in 2014, but the basic thing you need to know is that under this standard, if the person is even 1% at fault for a collision, they can’t collect anything from the other party (or parties).

Insurance companies benefit from contributory negligence because it makes it very low risk to deny a claim, since the legal standard a court would apply is so broad.

Most people, however, agree that this standard is unfair—in fact, Alabama and North Carolina are the only states aside from those in our region not to have moved to an alternative legal standard that compares the fault of the parties and allocates responsibility to pay damages according to who was more to blame, known as comparative fault.

This might all change soon

On April 21, Councilmember and Judiciary Committee chair Kenyan McDuffie brought the Motor Vehicle Collision Recovery Act of 2016 to a vote. It passed out of Committee 3-0 and is now awaiting two votes before the full Council.

This bill would make it so a person on a bike or on foot who was contributorily negligent in a crash with a motor vehicle would still be able to collect damages if they were less than 50% at fault.

The version of the bill that came to markup had two minor but substantive changes from 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. The basic idea behind last clear chance is that even if the plaintiff (the person who gets hit) is contributorily negligent, the plaintiff’s negligence is not a bar to recovery if the defendant (motorist) had the last clear chance to avoid the accident.

Reserving last clear chance will likely result in greater protection for bicyclists because in circumstances where the bicyclist is contributorily negligent, the bicyclist would still be able to recover for damages if the motorist had the last clear chance to avoid the collision.

The bill must be approved by the Committee of the Whole and receive two affirmative votes by the full Council. It would then go to the Mayor for her signature. Afterwards, the bill becomes an act and must go through the Congressional approval process before becoming law. Both votes could take place before the summer recess.

Who does contributory negligence hurt?

The contributory negligence standard is particularly hard on bicyclists, in part because the public is not well-educated about bike laws in general. But the reality is that contributory negligence is actually hard on anyone with relatively small damages to claim and/or no applicable insurance coverage (e.g. pedestrians).

Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingent fee basis, and small cases do not adequately compensate them for their time. Thus, though the cost of replacing a bike or a few thousand dollars in medical bills may be substantial for an individual, it’s not enough to attract an advocate to take on a driver’s insurance company.

Contributory negligence is hardest on low-income people

To some, the pain and damages that fall under this threshold are the difference between getting by and falling behind. There can be no doubt that this has real consequences for seniors, communities of color and low-income individuals who can’t just call in sick and watch Netflix until a back sprain heals or buy a new bike.

We know that 38% of DC households don’t have access to car. We know that 28% of trips made by DC households are by foot, and another 20% by transit (which includes some walking to access). The web of incentives and laws that we’re all traveling in every time we take a step or pedal across the street to the bus stop, or get behind the wheel of a car, directly affects our quality of life and shapes our behavior and choices.

Councilmember Mary Cheh (Ward 3) introduced the bill. The bill’s sponsors are Councilmembers Grosso (at-large), Evans (Ward 2), Bonds (at-large), and Allen (Ward 6); Councilmember Alexander (Ward 7) is a co-sponsor.

With this legislation, the DC City Council has an opportunity to choose fairness and common sense. Let your city council member know that this matters to you: thank them for supporting the Motor Vehicle Collision Recovery Act of 2016 or let them know you want to see their support.



Tracy Hadden Loh loves cities, infrastructure, and long walks on the beach looking for junk. She holds a Ph.D. in city and regional planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. By day, she is the director of research at the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. By night, she is an activist, a military wife, a baby mama, and proud to represent Ward 1 on the Mount Rainier, MD city council.

Tamara Evans is the advocacy director for the Washington Area Bicyclist Association. She lives in Mt. Pleasant.

How to Prepare for Bike to Work Day 2016

Holy heck! It’s right around the corner!

Bike to Work Day is next week! But don’t worry, WABA is here to make sure you and your bicycle are ready for your commute to work. (Did you procrastinate? No shame – just make sure to sign up now!)

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 workplace 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 are our top five tips to make your commute next Friday easy and enjoyable:

1. Get your bicycle ready before Friday morning.

One of the worst feelings is rolling out on your trusty steed and realizing that the air in your tires is low or that your brakes are loose. Check over everything this weekend to make sure you and your bicycle are ready to go. Check out this page to make sure your bike is in tip-top shape.

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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 lightweight clothing and layers that you can peel off if you get a little toasty on the ride. But hey, you can also ride in a suit, we do it all the time!

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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‘ handy bicycling directions tool allows you to plug in your beginning and ending locations as well as any pit stops you might want to hit up on the way to work. Additionally, you can view a ‘layer’ on Google Maps that will display roads with dedicated bike lanes, ‘bicycle-friendly’ roads, trails, and dirt/unpaved trails, which can help you plan which route to take. One extra tip: if you’re taking a route for the first time, write down the directions on piece of paper and stick in your pocket or tape to your handlebars.

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4. Find a bike buddy.

It’s never too late to text your friend, knock on your neighbor’s 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. Or 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. If you have a longer commute and still want to bike to work (good for you!), consider joining a convoy with a whole bunch of buddies!

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5. Enjoy the ride.

Biking should be all about enjoying your ride. Just think: it’s way less stressful than sitting in a traffic jam on the Beltway or waiting to cram into a Metro car and you’ll get to enjoy the birdsongs and views along the way. So on Friday, take it slow, take it easy, smile when you pedal, follow traffic laws, bike safely, and enjoy the ride.

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If you haven’t signed up for Bike to Work Day, it’s not too late! Register right now to be eligible for bike giveaways, raffle prizes, and free breakfast snacks at your pit stop!

Here’s a REALLY easy way that you can make biking better

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Want to know what it is? Want to make biking better?

Click this button to make biking better

Yes, that button just takes you to WABA’s webpage about Bike to Work Day because registering for Bike to Work Day on Friday, May 20th is really important!

Yes, I want to make biking better!

By registering for Bike to Work Day, you get to show the decision makers across our region that biking matters, that you matter, and that you choose to bike for transportation. It’s a fun and important way to make sure that our policymakers take bicyclists seriously.

That’s why, you should still register even if you bike every day. The growth of Bike to Work Day is one of many statistics planners use to track the growth of bicycling, so make sure you’re counted! Plus, you can use this bike holiday on May 20th as a way to spread the bikelove. Tell your coworkers in your office about Bike to Work Day and ask them if they would consider biking to work.

By signing up and stopping by your nearest pit stop—and with 83 pit stops across the region there is bound to be one near you—you and that coworker you’re riding can rake in all sorts of snacks, swag, coffee and that badge of honor, the Bike to Work Day t-shirt.

Plus you get to feel like you are something bigger than your normal commute, and that is a powerful feeling.

What are you waiting for? Sign up for Bike to Work Day today.

Volunteer to help DC Bike Ride happen!

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DC Bike Ride is going to be INCREDIBLE: 17-miles of streets in Downtown Washington, DC that will be fully closed to cars for you to bike on. That’s a lot of car-free miles! Plus, there will be a Finish Festival party after the ride with Questlove, the in-house band of The Tonight Show, and White Ford Bronco.

But we need a lot of volunteer help to pull this thing off.

If you were around when WABA was involved with Bike DC, you have an idea of how awesome and big this event will be and how much volunteer help goes into it.

Can you volunteer at DC Bike Ride packet pick up on Saturday, May 21st or at the event itself on Sunday, May 22nd?

Yes, I’ll volunteer at DC Bike Ride!

Here’s some Frequently Asked Questions about Volunteering at DC Bike Ride:

Q: What do I get for volunteering?

A: A free DC Bike Ride t-shirt, plus snacks/drinks, and a free one-day Capital Bikeshare membership! Plus, if you volunteer three times in a year for WABA then you get a free one-year WABA membership and all the perks that comes with.

Yes, I’ll volunteer at DC Bike Ride!

Q: What will volunteers be doing?

A: Everything from passing out rider packets and bib numbers the day before the event to event set up that morning, showing cycling where to line up for the start and helping to marshal finished riders to the party, handing out water and snacks at Aid Stations on the route, packing up and breaking down the event once it’s over, and helping at the Finish Festival with handing out food/drinks and providing information to guests.

Q: What time are the volunteer shifts?

A: There are shifts on Saturday, May 21st from 9:30am to 1:30pm and 1:00pm to 6:00pm. Most shifts on throughout the day on Sunday, May 22nd, with some shifts early in the morning and some in early afternoon. Details can be found here. 

Q: Where are volunteer shifts located?

A: Pack Pick Up shifts on Saturday are located in DC’s NoMa neighborhood at Storey Park, First Street and L Street NE. All Sunday volunteer shifts are located in Downtown, Washington DC along the route and on Pennsylvania Ave downtown.

Q: Where is the most help needed?

A: With “Packet Pick Up” on Saturday, May 22nd, and on Sunday most help is needed with the “Pre Ride Team”, “Start and Finish Line Team” and “Finish Line Tear Down Crew” shifts.

Q: Will I get to watch the Finish Festival and see Questlove?

A: That depends on where you volunteer, but you should most likely get to hear the tunes! White Ford Bronco plays from 10am-11am and Questlove plays from 11am-1pm. Most of the volunteer shifts on Sunday allow you to either watch while you volunteer (like “Post Ride Party Crew” volunteers) or listen as you volunteer from your station on Pennsylvania Ave since they will be projecting sound.

But when your shifts end, and many early Sunday shifts end by 11 or 11:30am, you’ll be able to come over to the Finish Festival to see Questlove! Saturday packet pick up volunteers are invited to come see the whole festival on Sunday.

Q: Will I get free ride entry if I volunteer?

A: Unfortunately, the event organizers aren’t able to offer free ride entry for volunteers, plus many of the volunteer shifts take place during the ride itself.

Q: What if I want to sign up to ride, but could also help out?/I already registered, but if you really need help, I could help out, is that possible?

A: Yes! At this point, we need volunteers so bad that we’ll take whatever we can get. If you’re registered or want to register, and can still help out for a few hours early that morning, please still sign up to volunteer!

The ride itself starts at 8am, so you’re best best is either taking a Saturday packet pick up shift or one of the early morning Sunday shifts, like the Pre-Ride Team from 5:45am-11am, and noting in the “volunteer notes” at the bottom of the volunteer sign up form that you are riding so you can help until 7:45am/8am.

Q: Why should I volunteer for DC Bike Ride?

A: Because this event is going to bring out thousands of people to bike all in one place at the same same time. It’s going to be the greatest public showing of bicycling that this city has ever seen! You can be a part of it by volunteering, and by volunteering you are also doing your part in giving back to the greater DC region bike community.

Q: How does this event help make biking better?

DCBR organizers are making a substantial grant to us to support WABA’s advocacy work and community organizing for Vision Zero. You can read more about that here. We will have a WABA tent at the event and will be on-site talking to people about Vision Zero and safe streets. So while we are not directly involved in the operation of the event, we’re thrilled it’s taking place and invested in its success. So you should volunteer!

Yes, I’ll volunteer at DC Bike Ride!

Time is running out: Register today for DCBR!

From our partners at DC Bike Ride:

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ONLINE REGISTRATION CLOSES ON 5/18

Rain, rain, go away! It’s time to put the clouds behind us and start looking forward to DCBR on May 22nd. We are counting down the days. If you haven’t registered there’s still time to join the ride – the newest tradition the DC biking community will take part in every year.

DCBR IS CLOSING THE STREETS JUST FOR YOU

2016 is the inaugural year for DCBR and it’s going to be epic! From 17 miles of car-free biking to a fantastic Finish Festival on America’s Main Street on Penn Ave. with the Capitol as the backdrop. Some of our favorite musical talent will be there, DJ Questlove, White Ford Bronco, and more! Additionally. Bring the kiddos to the Kids Zone complete with carnival games, face painters, balloon artists, and more! More Finish Festival details here.

Don’t miss the chance to ride in the very first DCBR. Thousands have registered! Join us in showcasing the two-wheel lifestyle to our city.

CALLING ALL BIKE CLUBS

We are still extending the offer to all bike club members! Are you in a bike club or have a large group of 10 or more? Gather your riding buddies and reach out to us at hello@dcbikeride.com to find out about our special bike club discount rate.

WANT GUARANTEED FIRST WAVE START?

For $195, our limited VIP package includes an official DCBR jersey, a delicious post-ride lunch, and a guaranteed first wave start. Register today to be in the leading group of the ride and get the first unique views of the city.

SHOW YOUR DCBR PRIDE

The DCBR Shop is now open! Find your new favorite riding gear or go-to hoodie here.

 

Introducing the Crystal City Business Improvement District, a Leadership Level 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 Crystal City Business Improvement District.

If you follow regional bicycle events, then you are most certainly familiar with the bike-friendly accolades of today’s Leadership Level WABA Business Member, the Crystal City Business Improvement District.

Crystal City is well known as the host of the Air Force Association Cycling Classic, Wednesday Night Spins, and multiple iterations of the Phoenix Bikes annual fundraiser. They’ve challenged the region to make cycling to work a habit with Bike to Work Week where a number of lucky riders ride away with great biking gear – pretty sure you’ve seen some of their colorful jerseys, jackets, helmets, or commuter bags on the trails. The Crystal City BID also sponsors weekly pop-up bicycle repair with District Wrench, brought the region’s first and only bicycle product vending machine and Fix-It Station combo, and was a key player in the roll out of Capital Bikeshare in 2010.

But perhaps most importantly, Crystal City is exceptionally bicycle friendly with incredible regional trail access and a rapidly growing collection of protected bicycle ways to create an interconnected network. Regional trail access combined with an unparalleled ability to park and ride (free parking available after 4pm every day and all-day on weekends) plus dozens of destinations to grab a post-ride bite or beverage make Crystal City the perfect place to start your recreational, fitness, or sightseeing bicycle ride. Here are some of the Crystal City BID’s favorites:

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Trail Rides

Arlington Loop Ride (17 Miles)

The Arlington Loop is the official name of Arlington’s “bicycle beltway.” The continuous 17-mile loop consisting of the Mount Vernon, Four Mile Run, W&OD, and the Custis Trails offers riders with a great fitness and recreational ride that connects all of Arlington’s urban villages.

Old Town Ride (4.3 Miles – One-Way)

With its historic charm, beautiful waterfront parks, and boutique shopping, Old Town Alexandria is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. Avoid traffic, the hassle of parking, and the long walk from Metro by utilizing easy two-wheeled transportation. The Mount Vernon Trail takes you directly to the heart of Old Town and all its offerings.

Mount Vernon Ride (14.8 Miles – One-Way)

Paralleling the Potomac River, enjoy spectacular river vistas along the Mount Vernon Trail on the way to George Washington’s famous estate. Learn more and plan your actual visit at http://www.mountvernon.org/

National Harbor Ride (8.7 Miles – One-Way)

Take advantage of the completed Woodrow Wilson Bridge project’s addition of a dedicated bicycle path across the Potomac. The new pathway takes you directly to the heart of Prince Georges County’s new downtown neighborhood, National Harbor offering an eclectic mix of shopping, entertainment and dining options.

Leesburg Ride (38.3 Miles – One-Way)

Escape from the bustle of the city by riding out to historic Leesburg via the W&OD Trail. Given the proximity to the W&OD Trail, many of the downtown Leesburg businesses and Lodgings cater specifically to cycling market making for the perfect overnight getaway that will make you feel miles away!

Purceville Ride (48.6 Miles – One-Way)

As the terminus of the W&OD trail, the Purceville Ride is often seen as a must-do for area cyclists. Although it is possible to fit into a single day’s ride, the Purceville Ride provides the perfect opportunity for an overnight trip.

Harpers Ferry Ride (66.4 Miles – One-Way) A touch over a single day’s round trip ride, a trip to Harpers Ferry offers a challenging but worthwhile overnight excursion. Traveling along the historic C&O canal, you’ll be treated with views of the historic C&O canal, a number of lockhouses (some of which offer overnight accommodations through the National Park Service), and a serene natural setting. Plan a tour of Harpers Ferry by visiting the National Park Service website.

DC Site Seeing Rides

Branches of Government Ride (13.6 Miles)

Brush up on your civics lessons from the seat of your bicycle with this casual Branches of Government Ride. The ride visits the home of each branch of the U.S. Government – the U.S. Capitol (Legislative), the Supreme Court (Judicial), and the White House (Executive).

Monuments Ride (8.6 Miles)

The National Mall is deceptively large and hitting all of the sites by foot can be exhausting. Turns out, the best way to fit it all in is on two-wheels! Catch all of the highlights including Thomas Jefferson Memorial, FDR Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, the Reflecting Pool, the Washington Monument, the WWII Memorial, and the newest addition to the Monumental Corps, the MLK Memorial with this easily ridden Monuments Ride.

Nationals Park Ride (5.3 Miles – One-Way)

Avoid ballgame traffic and get to and from Nationals Park by bike! This quick ride is a piece of cake with the park offering tons of bicycle parking for two-wheeled ticketholders.

Fitness Rides

East Potomac Park Fitness Ride (9 Miles, Each additional Haines Point loop is 3.2 miles)

A favorite of competitive cyclists and triathletes, the East Potomac Park Fitness Ride takes advantage of a low speed and low trafficked loop around Haines Point with beautiful river views along the Potomac. From Crystal City, the ride (including one Haines Point Loop) is approximately 9 miles. You can then add additional mileage by completing additional loops, each of which adds another 3.2 miles.

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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.