Hey. Come ride with us!

Take on the fall with WABA’s education ride series!

When it comes to learning about biking, nothing beats real-world experience, so we’re embarking on a series of four rides — each covering a different topic or theme that will help you get around the city.

Our rides are certain to be a good time, but they’re also a safe space to practice riding with people who live and breathe (and teach) this stuff every day. Come to tour DC, come to ride, come to ask any of your deepest, darkest, secret-est bike questions, and come to have fun.

Still not sure? Did we mention that each ride will end at one of DC’s premier taco establishments?

Click on a ride below to register — advance registration costs 10 bucks a person, but you can join us for free on the day of, providing we still have space. Bring a bike, wear your helmet, and read the fine print here.

ch-ch-ch-changes

First up, we have our Ch-ch-ch-changes Ride on Wednesday, Sept. 17th! This ride is all about preparing for what comes next when you’re on your bike. We’ll be riding from trails to roads, from bike lanes to open lanes, and from Northeast to Northwest, all while summer changes to fall around us. Get ready to reinvent yourself and change the way you ride!

Starts at 6:30 p.m. @ M Street NE, between 1st Street NE and 2nd Street NE, in front of the NoMa Metro station

Ends at 8:00 p.m. @ Taqueria Nacional (14th and T Street NW)

Every other Wednesday, we’ll be setting off to explore riding in DC. And these rides are just the beginning. Next year, we’ll have a whole new series!

Check ‘em out:

On Wednesday, October 1st:

gotta get up to get down

And on Wednesday, October 15th:

bike lane blitz

And finally, on Wednesday, October 29th:

round round get around

 

What is an everyday superpower?

If you’ve poked around our educational materials lately, maybe you’ve seen our fall 2014 class campaign, which is about superpowers. Everyday ones, specifically.

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What does this mean, and what does it have to do with biking?

Traditional superheroes, like one of my favorites, Spiderman, practice more explicit forms of vigilante justice — fighting bad guys that the cops just can’t get to.

But our campaign isn’t about flying around in a cape — it’s about the small ways that we can empower ourselves, and others, by biking in the DMV and doing so responsibly. Everyone has an everyday superpower — it might include one of the little things that you do to make your day special, that get you out of your routine, that improve your quality of life.

You’ll notice that our superheroes are creative, vibrant, and, yes, law-abiding folk. They’re expressing themselves through biking, but they’re also working with existing systems to make things better.

Take a look at our superheroes below. Or collect them all around town. Finally, take a city cycling class and get your own superpower!

Bonus points if you email us your own everyday superpower.

With great power comes great responsibility,

The WABA Education Team

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everyday superpower edgar blog

everyday superpower liz blog

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everyday superpower lesly blog

everyday superpower mike blog

everyday superpower eileen blog

everyday superpower wt blog

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everyday superpower delores blog

Thanks to Anna Bavier, Elizabeth Willis, Eileen Matos, WT Chen, Mike Decker, Heather Vetting, Sarah Rice Scott, Lesly Jones, Tiffany Lam, Anica Allen, Edgar Gil Rico, Will Stowe, Delores Simmons, Ben Strahs, Chelsey Pas, and Elizabeth Lyttleton for making these photos happen.

Treasures Abound And Good Times Found!

Over 70 brave explorers came out to join in WABA’s Anacostia Riverwalk Treasure Hunt this past Saturday. Sporting costumes, colorful headwear, impressive team branding, and almost giddy excitement, the 25 teams came prepared for some serious riddle sleuthing and river wandering.
Anacostia Riverwalk Treasure Hunt

Once out on the trail, teams fanned out in all directions to unravel a list of riddles and uncover the trail’s hidden bounty. Some of these “Trail Treasures” –landmarks, sweeping views, riverside hideaways, and unexpected attractions– proved quite tricky, but well worth the trip.

Anacostia Riverwalk Treasure Hunt

Since the mark of a modern privateer is the right balance of braggery, skill, and tech savvy, teams collected points by tweeting and instagramming photos of their team at each trail treasure.  With a little encouragement and so many sights and props for inspiration, teams dove headfirst into the competition with some great results.

Anacostia Riverwalk Treasure Hunt

For many riders, this adventure was a first time down on the river. We hope that the cheerful trail, wildlife for company, and so many activities, keep them coming back!  If you missed it, check out the photos on our flickr page and consider setting sail for the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail for a voyage of your own!

For the big extra spark of motivation and boatloads of prizes, we owe a rousing Thank You to our Prize Sponsors: Capitol Hill Bikes, Bluejacket, Ice Cream Jubilee, and Chipotle Mexican Grill.

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chipotle-logo   BluejacketHiRes

 

More Details About DDOT’s Streetcar Regulations

Not a perfect setup, but a bike ban is not the solution.

Not a perfect setup, but a bike ban is not the solution.

Based on a day of answering questions from members and reporters about yesterday’s blog post, here are a few details and clarifications about the proposed regulation that would ban bicyclists from using the streetcar guideway:

  1. WABA does not oppose the streetcar. We do oppose an overly broad regulation that singles out bicycles as the only vehicles prohibited from a portion of public roadways.  We aren’t asking to delay the streetcar or make major changes to the already-built project. We are insisting that this proposed guideway bike ban not be included in the final regulations.
  2. This is the first time we’ve seen DDOT intentionally and directly proposed a rule violating its own complete streets policy by telling a mode of transportation user that parts of the public roadway network is off-limits. We believe in Complete Streets and will hold DDOT accountable for following its policy.
  3. That said, this is not merely a “slippery slope” argument. This regulation won’t just apply to H Street, NE. Once it’s on the books, it will apply to all future streetcar projects —presently planned to be a 37 mile network—unless the regulation is actively changed. That’s 37 miles of street lane that cyclists will be banned from using.
  4. The contraflow bike lanes on G and I Streets are a great way to avoid riding on H St (WABA proposed them!),  but their presence does not make riding on H unnecessary.
  5. Not every future streetcar route will have such easy alternative routes. Unless DDOT is going to promise to provide them. In which case, let’s put that in the regulations.
  6. The regulation applies to the guideway, not necessarily the whole road. DDOT helpfully clarified their intent on Facebook yesterday, but in the regulations the guideway is not as clearly defined as it should be, and a Facebook post is not helpful as a regulatory document.  Additionally, along the H St-Benning Road corridor the guideway shifts from the outer lane to the inner lane, which translates to a requirement that bicyclists switch lanes mid-block across tracks. This isn’t really any better.

We recognize that DDOT is trying to balance interests in the safety of bicyclists and the functionality of streetcars. We have raised concerns about bicyclist safety near streetcar tracks at every stage of this project, and DDOT has consistently punted on making design changes to address the problem. Now, they’ve come to the end of the design without addressing it and have no more engineering options available, so they’ve moved on to regulatory options.

We know that H Street is not a great place to bike. But its present configuration wasn’t handed down by the gods. DDOT built it like it is, knowing it wouldn’t be good for bikes, and should be held accountable for making what improvements are possible and for ensuring that future streetcar routes are built in a way that makes safe space for bikes. Allowing the agency to set the default position to “eliminating bicyclists from roadways” rather than “accommodating bicyclists on roadways” will allow DDOT to continue with unsafe designs that ignore their responsibility to make DC’s streets safe for all.

DDOT is accepting public comments on the proposed regulations until September 27th. You can submit comments here.

DDOT Proposes Bike Ban Wherever Streetcars Operate

“Bike Prohibited” could be the next version of this sign. Photo source: mvjantzen

DDOT’s proposed streetcar regulations, released last week, prohibit “riding a bicycle within a streetcar guideway, except to cross the street.” On H St Northeast, that guideway is the entire street, effective banning biking on this popular corridor. This is a problem.

For years, WABA and others have raised concerns about the interaction of streetcars and bicycles and suggested a range of both equipment and communication best practices to improve the situation. Rather than seriously pursing these solutions, DDOT is proposing to ban bikes.

Tell DDOT Not to Ban Bikes

Streetcar tracks can pose a legitimate hazard to bicyclists, but banning bikes is not an acceptable solution. Please contact DDOT immediately, and demand that this bike ban be removed from the regulations before they are made final.

This restriction is not just a bad idea, it contradicts DDOT’s own Complete Streets Policy, which explicitly requires:

“All transportation and other public space projects shall accommodate and balance the choice, safety, and convenience of all users of the transportation system including pedestrians, users with disabilities, bicyclists, transit users, motorized vehicles and freight carriers, and users with unique situations that limit their ability to use specific motorized or non-motorized modes to ensure that all users, especially the most vulnerable can travel safely, conveniently and efficiently within the right of way.”

Bicycles and streetcars share space in cities across the world. There are a variety of technical and design solutions to this problem. It is past time for DDOT to commit to learning about and using these sorts of solutions rather than banning an entire mode of transportation from the road.

Introducing Mesirow & Associates, PLLC, a WABA Business Leader Member

We’ve recently introduced you to our business membership programWe debuted the program in 2012 and are steadily signing up new business members in 2014. As part of the program, we’d like to introduce you to some of our business members. Today, meet Mesirow & Associates, PLLC

Mesirow & Associates, PLLC is a small firm that focuses on  personal injury cases due to bicycle accidents, car accidents and pedestrian accidents in Washington, DC, Maryland, ,and Virginia. John Mesirow has been commuting by bicycle for 12 years from Chevy Chase, Maryland. John says, “When I started commuting, people would honk at me or yell…But I’ve noticed that, over the years, this has steadily decreased. As more and more cyclists hit the roads and trails…and groups like WABA advocate for cyclists, I have been pleasantly surprised that motorists have become more aware of, and considerate of, cyclists.” As a personal injury lawyer, John has dealt with many bike cases, and seen a gradual change in police understanding of bicycle cases and he and members of his firm are working to make that trend continue.

photo Washington Lawyer

John Mesirow and his bike. Photo from Washington Lawyer

John has been a WABA Member for many years, his firm was one of our first business members, and they were the first business to join at our new Business Leader Level. John says, “Our firm is and will continue to be a WABA “Business Leader” because we believe that the best way to protect cyclists is to educate the public (and to make sure cyclists know the rules of the road too).” We are proud to call Mesirow & Associates a WABA Business Leader 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.

Arlington Installs Its First Protected Bike Lanes

And there was much rejoicing…

Arlington County finished installing a protected bike lane (also known as a cycle track) this month on Hayes Street in the Pentagon City neighborhood. These are the first protected bike lanes in Arlington County. The set of one-way lanes run 1/3 mile from South Joyce St / 15th St to South Fern Street.

hayes-st-bike-lanesPeople riding bikes are buffered from motor vehicles by parked cars. The space is created by moving parked cars away from the curb.

The Hayes Street protected bike lanes are the first in Arlington County and part of what will be a growing network of lanes in the neighborhood. The County has plans to install protected bike lanes on South Eads Street this Fall,  Army Navy Drive and South Clark Street.

Increasing the number and quality of protected bike lanes in the region is one of  WABA’s ten advocacy priorities. Protected bikes lanes create a dedicated, safe space that makes bicycling more appealing to new and less confident riders.

Congratulations Arlington!

View the complete set of photos below or on the WABA Flickr page.

VDOT Installs Bike Lanes on Sherwood Hall Lane

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is almost finished installing the bike lanes on on Sherwood Hall Lane. We asked our WABA members and supporters in southern Fairfax County to speak up in support of the project during the public process back in March. With overwhelming support for the bike lanes, VDOT moved this project forward.

VDOT proposed traffic calming improvements and bike lanes on Sherwood Hall Lane in southern Fairfax County. This road is an important bicycle connection between Mount Vernon Parkway/Fort Hunt Road and the Route 1 corridor. Bike lanes now extend about 1.75 miles. Del. Scott Survell (VA-44th) has recorded a video tour of the new bike lanes with his helmet camera, you can watch them on his blog.

There has been little push back to the new bike lanes. There was however a negative Letter to the Editor about the Sherwood Hall Lane bike lanes in the Mount Vernon Voice on August 20th. Read it online here. Letter to the Editor in support of the bike lanes can be sent to their editors through their website.

Thank you to Fairfax County Supervisor Gerald Hyland, Virginia Senator Toddy Puller, and Virginia Delegate Scott Surovell for their support of this project.

WABA’s advocacy is supported by your membership dollars. Join or donate to WABA today to enable us to continue to achieve success in our advocacy work.

Introducing Toole Design Group, a WABA Business Member

We’ve recently introduced you to our business membership programWe debuted the program in 2012 and are steadily signing up new business members in 2014. As part of the program, we’d like to introduce you to some of our business members. Today, meet Toole Design Group

Jennifer Toole founded Toole Design Group in 2003 with a mission to create dynamic communities where walking, biking and transit use is possible for people of all ages and abilities. Toole Design Group maintains a unique blend of local, state and national expertise – ranging from designing sidewalks and trails to preparing national policy and best practice guidance. Some of the firm’s first projects included Washington, DC’s transformative Bicycle Master Plan, and the subsequent design and construction of an extensive bicycle network in the Nation’s Capital.

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Pennsylvania Ave Cycletrack

The company believes that walking and bicycling are fundamental forms of transportation that should be available to everyone. Toole Design Group has offices all over the country, but started right here in Maryland. Many local Toole employees are already WABA Members. When Toole Design Group joined as a WABA Business Member they even challenged other design firms to support us through Business Membership as well. We are proud to call Toole Design a WABA 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.

City Cycling is a hit in Alexandria

Last Saturday, we kicked off the fall education season with our first City Cycling class of the season. We met Saturday morning in Jones Point Park, where the Mount Vernon Trail crosses under the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. After discussing the basics of helmet use and fit, and helping students get to know their bikes a bit better, our instructors set up a series of skill-building exercises.

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Instructor Allyson Brown gives students the lowdown on brakes.

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Instructor Sam Mazur showing off a Capital Bikeshare bike.

We believe confidence comes from controlling your bike in everyday situations, so we start with the basics and students progress from there. The exercises gradually get more complex and we try to mimic the situations and challenges riders may encounter on the roads and trails, all in safe and controlled space.

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Students navigating the course during exercises.

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A pair of students gets a feel for braking from behind the saddle.

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Instructor Allyson Brown demonstrating an avoidance weave.

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A student successfully pulling off the instant turn.

After a short break, everyone gets ready for a ride. Half the group took advantage of the Mount Vernon trail to practice safe passing, trail etiquette and communication skills before venturing out into a quiet neighborhood nearby. The other half explored Old Town Alexandria’s bike routes, rode alongside drivers, and even practiced taking control of the travel lane.

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Instructor Brenda Ruby leads the group on the Mount Vernon trail.

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You can never be too courteous when passing pedestrians on trails.

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Taking the lane on Cameron St. in Old Town Alexandria.

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Instructor Sam Mazur makes sure no riders get left behind.

When the riders returned, they were full of smiles and ready to turn around and get back out there! They left with new skills, more confidence, and a wealth of new information, helpful tips, maps, and guides. We know they’ll be out there riding well and helping other cyclists.

If you haven’t taken a City Cycling class yet, now’s the time! You can check out our upcoming fall schedule here. All classes cost $10 to reserve a space, or you can walk-up to any class for free. Riding a bike in the city is for everybody, come on out and get started!