Lights, Coffee, ACTION!

This week’s weather theme has been GO RIDE YOUR BIKE! Today’s 80 degree weather is no different. Since Daylight Savings Time ending caught many of our friends off guard, we decided to catch up with them while they’re out riding! DC Bike Ambassadors set up friendly bicycle light sting operations around town to equip lightless bicycle riders with their very own pair of bicycle lights.


DC Bike Ambassadors set up in front of the Columbia Heights Metro on 14th Street NW…AT NIGHT!


DC Bike Ambassadors stop bicyclists on the 15th street cycletrack

DC Bike Ambassadors stop bicyclists on the 15th street cycletrack at P Street NW…AT NIGHT!

It gets dark so early these days, that 6 pm looks like midnight…AT NIGHT! Check out these handy tips about riding at night…AT NIGHT!

Aside from handing out bike lights, Ambassadors love giving out free coffee, bike maps, and law guides to our unsuspecting friends! Your smiling faces brings us joy that lasts all day long! Be on the lookout for our bicycling experts who ride around the city in bright red Ambassador shirts spreading the love of bicycling to all.


DC Bike Ambassadors give a bicyclist a cup of coffee and a new copy of the DC Bike Law Guide


Want to become a DC Bike Ambassador? Email for upcoming trainings.


November 1st: Let’s Do the Time Warp Again!

With the Daylight Savings turning the clock back an hour this weekend, your trip home from work, or school will be a lot darker than normal on Monday. WABA has collected a few tips and tricks you can use to maximize visibility when out on the road!

Front White Light For Your Handlebars: These bicycle lights let oncoming road users aware of your presence and are required by law in DC, MD. and VA. Putting the lights in blinking/pulsating mode saves battery, and makes your bicycle distinguishable from other road users. 


Front White Light For Your Helmet: This light shines where you are looking, which can be very helpful in areas without much street lighting and helps you spot potholes or debris in your way.
helmet light

Rear Red Light For Your Helmet: Many helmets have have vents or straps where a bicycle light can easily hook on to and is an easy way to increase your visibility.


Rear Red Light For Your Bicycle: Although not required by law to have a rear light (rear reflector is the minimum), having a red blinking, or pulsating light will increase your visibility. Hand signals are also a great way to communicate with other road users what your intentions are!


Reflective Clothing: For even more visibility, reflective clothing provides multiple options from jackets, pants, scarves, shoes with reflective strips attached to them that brightly light up when hit with lights from vehicles, or other light sources. Backpacks, ankle straps, and helmet stickers are also other useful accessories that can be incredibly reflective.



If you would like to learn more about bicycling, visit our Education Calendar for a list of upcoming classes.

Happy riding!


Prince George’s is hiring a bike and pedestrian coordinator

Cross posted at Greater Greater Washington

Prince George’s County leads the Washington region in pedestrian deaths, and it’s behind when it comes to trails and streets that are safe and useful for people on foot and bike. To fix the problem, the county will soon hire a bicycle and pedestrian coordinator and develop a bikeway plan.


Photo by Cindy Shebley on Flickr.

News of the hire comes from Darrell B. Mobley, Director of the County’s Department of Public Works and Transportation (DPW&T). Mobley says his agency wants to facilitate bicycling.

More specifically, Mobley wants to make the county’s bike network more usable. While Prince George’s has a lot of trails and local streets that are perfect for bicycling, they aren’t connected well enough for bicyclists to reach a destination without riding on more hazardous state and county roads. Mobley wants to create a bicycle network across the county using trails, bike lanes and safe streets.

The Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) and several county council members have urged DPW&T to hire a bicycle and pedestrian coordinator since Rushern Baker first became the county executive. The county posted the job this week, specifying that it’s a Planner III position that will pay between $53,000 and $97,000 per year.

The coordinator will report to Victor Weissberg, the special assistant in the director’s office who has long been responsible for representing the department on bike and pedestrian matters. According to Weissberg, the coordinator will have frequent access to both Mobley and Andre Issayans, DPW&T’s Deputy Director.

Developing a bikeway plan is likely to be one of the first tasks for the new hire, says Weissberg.

The county’s master plan of transportation shows where bike lanes and trails should be built in the very long run, but it does not address what will actually done or when. Weissberg says that creating a bikeway plan would probably require supplemental funding.

“When the county is ready, we will find the money,” says Greg Billing, director of advocacy for WABA.

Weissberg is not sure whether DPW&T will create a formal bicycle plan or something more like an internal work plan. But he promises to share drafts with the bicycle community and others as the plan is formulated.

Does the new hire signal a substantive change in county policy, or just an institutional commitment?

When Mobley was a top official at the Maryland Department of Transportation, the State Highway Administration (SHA) issued a policy declaring that bicycles would be presumed to ride on all state highways where bicycles are not explicitly prohibited, and that SHA would make at least some effort to make bicyling safer. For example, roads might get signs that told drivers that bicycles may take up the full lane.

By contrast, DPW&T has stated that some roads are not part of the bicycle network, that cyclists use these roads at their own risk, and that no “use full lane” signs would go up on such roads because doing so would encourage other cyclists to ride on them.

Mobley says that he is not ready to endorse SHA’s approach. He says that it is too soon to say that bicycles are part of the expected traffic mix on all county roads because he has not examined all of these roads. He wants to wait for the bike and pedestrian coordinator to come on board so that the county can adopt a position based on a reasoned analysis.

“Give us some time and we’ll work through these challenges,” says Mobley.


If you could change one law for biking, what would it be?

John A. Wilson Building, Washington, DC
The D.C. Council Committee on Transportation and the Environment is convening a bicycle and pedestrian safety task force. The group will discuss the District’s current approach to biking and walking safety and look into possible regulatory and legislative way to improve.  The final outcome will be a report of recommendations to the Council.

The task force has strong representation from city agencies, including leadership from MPD, DDOT, the Mayor’s office, AAA, the insurance industry, and key community and advocacy organizations. AAA’s John Townsend and myself are co-chairs of the task force.

So, if you could wave a magic wand and change one law or regulation, what would it be?

We are looking for new ideas from other communities or other countries. Ideas about laws for both pedestrians and bicyclists are okay. In the past five years, D.C. Council has passed several bills related to walking and bike, including the Bicycle Safety Amendment Act of 2013 and Access to Justice for Bicyclists Act of 2012.

The Task Force will deliver a D.C. Council report on laws and regulations. The group will not be debating pending legislation either (i.e. the contributory negligence or a distracted driving bills before Council now), and obviously won’t supersede the standard legislative or regulatory process.

The process is quick. There will be four public meetings in May and June. All meetings will be a roundtable format and open to the public.

Safety Task Force Public Meeting Details
Location: John A. Wilson Building, Chairman’s Conference Room (Room 502)

May 21, 2-4 pm – Pedestrian Safety
May 27  28, 2-4 pm – Bicycle Safety
June 4, 2-4 pm – Enforcement, Liability, and Reporting
June 11, 2-4 pm – Updating the District’s Laws, Regulations, etc.

The final report of possible recommendations will be available by July.  The timing will fit nicely with the launch of DC’s Vision Zero Action Plan in the late summer / early fall.

So, what can the Council change to make biking and walking safer in D.C.? We have some initial ideas but what are your ideas? Send us your ideas and thoughts to

Vote on Crash Victim Fairness Bill Postponed


Today, the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety held a legislative mark-up session on a number of bills, including the Bill 20-884 “Vulnerable User Recovery Act of 2014”. The Committee voted to postpone mark-up until next Wednesday, November 12th to allow all involved parties one last opportunity to craft a bill that meets the needs of vulnerable roadway users and the concerns of other stakeholders in the legal community. Councilmembers Jack Evan, Mary Cheh, Anita Bonds, Tommy Wells and David Grosso (not a member of Judiciary Committee) were in attendance at this morning’s mark-up.

Councilmember Tommy Wells and David Gross with WABA and All Walks DC held a joint press conference and rally in support of the legislation before the DC Council. The bill, if passed, would move the District to a fairer negligence standard to enable crash victims to collect compensation from driver’s insurance.

Yesterday’s press conference was attended by dozens of local residents calling on the DC Council to move the bill forward to protect the most vulnerable road users. Following votes from next week’s mark-up, WABA will post the vote results and a legislative scorecard online. You can learn more about the scorecard here and more about WABA’s campaign to bring fairness for crash victims.

As we all wait until next week’s vote, take some time to read the press coverage from yesterday online here, here, here, here, here , here, here and here. Please also take a moment to contact your Councilmember to ask for their support of the bill.

Take Action: Ask DC Council to Support the Bill

You Get a Cycle Track, You Get a Cycle Track


The recommended downtown bike network in the draft Move DC plan. Every dashed white/pink line is a proposed protected bike lane (cycle track).

At Friday’s ribbon cutting for the First St. NE event, Mayor Gray announced the release the much anticipated Move DC draft Multimodal Long-Range Transportation Plan. The draft plan is a giant step forward for biking in the District of Columbia. It’s worth repeating, the expansion of bicycling as a mode of transportation for the next twenty years in Move DC are some of the most ambitious in the entire United States.

To get to the juicy details first, the Move DC draft plan proposed an expansion of the bicycling network with over 200 new miles of bike lanes, protected bike lanes (cycle tracks) and trails. The total envisioned bicycle network would be 136 miles of bike lanes, 72 miles of protected bike lanes (cycle tracks), and 135 miles of trails – the finished network would be a whopping 343 miles of dedicated bicycle infrastructure!!!

The entire draft plan with appendices is over 500 pages so there is still plenty of information, data, policies recommendations and plans to dig through. The bicycling element examines existing conditions, current policies and highlights the recent growth. Bicycling in DC is the fastest growing mode of transportation and it is in this context DDOT outlines a substantial growth in the bicycle network. DDOT planners hope to have a majority of city residents within a 2 minute bike ride of a protected bike lane or trail.

This plan represents a huge step forward for bicycling in DC. However, DDOT has set a less than ambitious goal for total bicycling increase in their Bicycle Element Performance measures. The goal over the 25 year period is an increase in bicycling to 12% of all trips that start and end in the District. According to the US Census most recent American Communities Survey (2012), DC’s bicycling commuting rate is 4.1% for work trips. Since 2005, the commuting rate has increase about 30% each year. Projecting the growth out 25 years to 2040 at a 30% growth rate would be an overall 12% bike commuting mode share but only for work trips.

The ACS data is notorious for under counting bike commuting and only considers work trips, not all trips. Estimates put work trips as only 1/6th of total trips made by a person. Non-work travel includes grocery shopping, going out to dinner, picking kids up at school, etc., which are generally shorter and closer to home. Biking makes up a larger portion of non-work trips for the very reason they are shorter. DDOT’s 12% goal for all trips in the city to be made by bike should be more ambitious.

Included in the draft plan is a thorough update and progress report on the 2005 Bicycle Master Plan (pdf).  DDOT gives updates on the 14 core recommendations outlines in the master plan. Many major initiatives have been finished or are nearing completion. Other projects such as the Met Branch Trail and Rock Creek Park Trail are years behind schedule. It’s worth reading the full progress update and see how much has been done, and how much is still left to do.

The public input process began last year in February with a major kick-off event and three rounds of public meetings. There were also online surveys, webinars, and a bimonthly advisory group meetings. WABA members and supporters tirelessly participated in the public input process. The Move DC plan is a big step forward for biking in the District, but we’re not done deal yet.

A plan of this scale has not be undertaken in recent DC history. From the beginning, WABA and other transportation advocates have asked does this plan process become the plan for the entire agency. The draft Multimodal Long-Range Transportation Plan is a detailed framework in which all future policies, funding, project planning, engineering and construction are decided within.  The process of adoption is now becoming clear but more complicated by other current policy and political discussions.

DC Council is a considering a reorganization of DDOT, and other transportation related agencies such as the DMV and Taxi Commission (full Council bill). DDOT would the primary agency responsible for implementing a future Move DC plan. The Council has also voted to reduce future streetcar funding, a primary transit mode in the Move DC plan. The additional developments complicated the overall discussion of Move DC but also highlight the issue of transportation a prime concern to be addressed in a growing DC.

There is now an open public comment period to provide feedback on draft plan. Comments are being now accepted online. On June 27th, the DC Council Committee on Transportation and the Environment will hold a public hearing on the draft plan. After the comment period ends on July 6th, 2014, DDOT will compile comments and make edits to the draft plan. A final plan would go back to DC Council for a vote.

Please comment on the plan, especially the Bicycle section, and express your support for the plan. The next 25 years for bicycling in DC will be very excited if the Move DC plan becomes the vision we build.

Trail Rangers Return for Season Two

2014 Trail Ranger Team

You’ve heard the rumors.  Pairs of friendly and helpful bicyclists have been spotted on off-street paved trails throughout DC.  Sources say they appear eager to help out with maps, trail information and patching the occasional flat tire.  Some say these uniformed “rangers” are even inspecting trail conditions, clearing debris, and removing trail obstacles for a smoother ride.

Well, its true.  WABA’s Trail Ranger team is back in full force for its second season!  After a long winter and a rainy bike month, we’re thrilled to unleash our 2014 Trail Ranger team on DC’s trails and the ever growing throng of trail users.  For the past three weeks they’ve been crisscrossing the city on the Met Branch, Anacostia Riverwalk, Marvin Gaye, and Suitland Parkway Trails, preparing for the work of supporting regular trail users and encouraging the hesitant to check them out   After over 220 training miles on and between these trails, the five ranger team is ready for the limelight!

Trail Rangers are out on trail daily during the morning and evening rush on weekdays as well as weekends.  Equipped with a host of trail information, bike tools and first aid supplies, they are always ready to lend a hand when you need it most.  The team also works to maintain and improve trail corridors, ensuring that irksome glass, obstacles, and tree branches are out of your way.  A regular Trail Ranger presence means smoother trail surfaces, a faster response to trail disruptions, and fewer barriers that might keep hesitant riders away.

In the coming weeks, we will introduce our enthusiastic and talented ranger team and unveil our schedule of cleanup events aimed at bringing trail users and neighbors together to keep DC’s trails looking great.  In the meantime, if you see a green shirt pulling a yellow trailer, be sure to give us a wave and say hello!

You can meet some of the team and have a cup of coffee next Friday, June 13th, on the Met Branch Trail.