Meet a PAL Ambassador: Crash

All of the PAL Ambassadors call you Crash…what kind of name is that?!

I once T-boned a police car on my bicycle in the rain. No one was seriously injured.

That’s…not really an answer. What are your favorite things about Arlington? What do you like to do?

I’ve lived here for about six years and it’s a vibrant community with so much diversity and things going on. As small as it is, each corner has a different feel and culture to it. Ballston, Crystal City, West Columbia Pike, Rosslyn. What makes Arlington really unique though is the “Arlington loop”. The 17-mile interconnected connected trail system for walking, bicycling, rollerblading, stroller-pushing, etc, whatever you want to use it for. I don’t imagine many other areas have such a well used and well maintained trail system.  There are also lots of outdoor events, but one of my favorites is the free outdoor movies. Lots of people come out to them.

The Predictable, Alert and Lawful (PAL) message is aimed at everyone in the community: bicyclists, pedestrians and drivers.  Which do you see yourself as?

I’m definitely all three. I own a car but I commute to and from work by bicycle. Being in all three roles definitely makes you better at all three. When I’m driving, pedestrians will illegally cross in the crosswalk when I’m going through the intersection! What are they thinking? When I’m bicycling, cars will change lanes or turn without using their turn signal! What are they thinking? When I’m walking, bicycles will pass me with little room to spare without notifying me with an audible signal! What are they thinking? Using each mode makes me understand what I can do better in the others.

Describe your involvement as a PAL Ambassador and what you enjoy about volunteering.

Not going to lie, I saw something in a bicycle newsletter about a pizza party and I can’t turn down food. That was many years ago and now the advocacy is more interesting than the pizza to me. Being a PAL Ambassador is pretty simple, the most important thing is to practice the PAL principles. The aspect I like the most is seeing people from the community being brought together. Volunteering at a big event like Bike To Work Day is amazing because you see how massive the bicycle community is. Volunteering at smaller events like our block parties is amazing because you get to meet families with young children who genuinely enjoy spending wholesome, quality time together outside.

Why do you think the PAL program is important and relevant to the Arlington community?

Arlington is a perfect intersection of cars, bicycles, and pedestrians. Commuters going into DC by car go through Arlington. Arlington is dense enough that Arlingtonians can easily walk to restaurants and bars. We have fantastic bicycle infrastructure and services so that most of us can either bicycle the complete distance to where we want to go or use it for some of our journey. These three modes of transportation aren’t separate; cars share the lane with bicycles, bicycles may need to share the sidewalk with pedestrians, and pedestrians cross streets used by cars and bikes. Where there’s a feeling of disconnect between the modes is where problems can happen, and the PAL Ambassadors are out there to remind people to put more thought into their behavior.

You can meet Crash and more PAL Ambassadors at our Block Party this Saturday!

Want to learn about future Arlington PAL Ambassador events?  Yes!





The Strong Women Ride Makes an Impact

Who’s ready to ride DC? This group.

In February, our Women & Bicycles program led the Strong Women Ride. This city is full of women who shaped history–and who were law-breaking, sanctuary-providing, kidnapping scalawags at the same time. We figured folks would jump at the chance to shake off the winter cobwebs and learn something new at the same time.

Turns out we were right. So right, in fact, that we had to scramble to schedule a second ride in March! Both rides were big successes, with great weather, great company, and great education all at once.

Want to learn about future Women & Bicycles events and rides?  Yes!





Group in front of Belmont-Paul Womens Equality Monument

 

So who were these strong women?

Our three main historical women were the Rev. Paulie A. Murray, Dr. Carla Hayden, and Marion Pritchard. But along the way, we also stopped at the Lady Fortitude statue at Howard U, Anna J. Cooper circle (near her preserved home), the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality Monument and House, the Eleanor Roosevelt statue at the FDR memorial, and the Vietnam Women’s Memorial.

Rev. Paulie A. Murray

In the 1940s, Paulie refused to sit in the broken seats of the colored section of a bus. Her subsequent arrest inspired her law career. She would later become one of the first women Episcopal priests, serving in Washington, DC and focusing on reconciliation.

Dr. Carla Hayden

Carla Hayden is the current Librarian of Congress, and both the first woman and the first person of color to hold that post.  During the Baltimore riots in the days after the death of Freddie Gray, as other businesses closed their doors, she insisted on keeping the libraries open so people had a place to go.

Marion Pritchard

Marion Pritchard was a Dutch resister during World War II. Special thanks to Marion’s granddaughters Abigail Pritchard and Grace Pritchard Burson, who shared stories of Marion’s resistance work with our riders. Our favorite story was one from near the end of the war. Marion was riding on rims, her bike tires long gone. With everyone starving, she traveled across a river to finagle some extra food beyond the meagre rations. On her way back, she was captured by a Nazi patrol. When questioned, she reportedly let them have it–she told them exactly what she thought of them, their regime, and their leader. The next morning, the soldiers drove her across the bridge where they had captured her. They returned her bike, and the extra food, and sent her on her way.

After that night of darkness, she saw some glimmers of hope and humanity.

After hearing these stories, the ride offered an option to show our own strength, with a ride to Meridian Hill Park that included the 15th street climb. Every rider who attempted the hill achieved the top… and a trip to cupcakes as a reward!

Climbing Meridian Hill like a girl. On a Brompton.

 

Serve WABA on the Board of Directors

The WABA Board in 2016

WABA’s Board of Directors is looking for people with a passion to help make the Washington area a safer and more welcoming environment for people using bikes. To this end, the WABA Board Nominating Committee is searching for director candidates with strong leadership skills and experience in helping non-profit organizations execute strategy and development plans.

WABA continues to enjoy a growing base of loyal members and a diversifying funding base. As we did last year, we have a particular interest in candidates who can help us further expand our partnerships with a broader pool of private organizations and individuals who share and will support WABA’s goal of making the Washington area the most bicycle friendly in the world. The ability to connect WABA to the broader Washington area network of donors with missions that overlap with WABA’s is a plus. We are also looking for a candidate who can help us ensure that our financial monitoring and oversight mechanisms are robust and efficient.

WABA continues to look for board members and partners who can help us ensure that our mission and programming serves the needs of bicyclists in low-income, underserved or local immigrant communities.  The WABA board’s commitment to diversity is real, and weight will be given to candidates that broaden the board’s views and experience.

WABA board members are volunteers who serve two year terms and are expected to participate in regularly scheduled board meetings (6-7 per year), serve on board committees as needed, provide counsel to WABA staff in their areas of expertise, and make WABA a significant part of their individual philanthropy.

WABA’s board also has a number of committees focused on areas that include advocacy, administration and finance, development, programming, and membership. Board membership is not required for membership on these committees, and some candidates may find service on these committees may be better suited to their time and interests. If you think that you might be interested in appointed (i.e., non-board member) service on these committees, please email mark@waba.org.

Candidates who are interested in exploring whether their skills and interests align with WABA’s are invited to make an initial expression of interest in board membership by filling out the form here.  If you have previously filled out an expression of interest, and remain interested, please email me at mark@waba.org.  While the search for director candidates is an ongoing one, the board expects to present a slate of candidates at the February 28th annual members’ meeting.

Mark Blacknell is the President of the WABA Board of Directors.

It’s Bike Light Blitz 2016

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The end of Daylight Savings Time is nearly upon us! There’s often an uptick in traffic crashes after the time change, so WABA is spending next week distributing bicycle lights. Our goal is to get bicycle lights in the hands (and onto the handlebars) of folks who are riding without them. If you’ve already got bike lights but still want to be part of the fun, stop by to pick up a pair to give away next time you see someone who needs them.  If you are interested in helping the DC Bike Ambassadors distribute these lights please join us at one of our pop up locations next week:

Spread the bike light love!

Here’s where we’ll be 11/7 -11/10:

  • Monday, 5-7pm we’re at 15th & P Street NW
  • Tuesday, 5-7pm we’re at Union Station (The First Street protected bike lane, in front of the Postal Museum)
  • Wednesday 5-7pm we’re at 3201 Benning Rd NE
  • Thursday 5-7pm we’re at the Key Bridge, on the Georgetown  Side.

Light tips:

lights-101

When you’re riding on a trail, be aware of the angle of your front light. Modern LEDs can be quite bright, and you don’t want to blind on coming trail users.

front-light-good-angle

front-light-bad-angle

Yep, Over 2,000 Kids In 6 Months

Thank you for everything you do for WABA: the letter-writing, the petitions, testifying and staying in the know.  Thank you for all your time and financial contributions over the years.

Your support is paying off. On Tuesday we sent out our big wins in 2016 (link), your big wins, a list of a dozen updates on everything from 100 miles of new bike trails you’ll get to enjoy to the first protected bike lane in Silver Spring.

Today we want to highlight the outreach and education metrics that shape your experiences on the road. And today we ask you to contribute to WABA this fall so that, in addition to infrastructure wins, we can continue our relentless work for better bicycling. We want to tell you about the award-winning programs you support (some of which have been replicated across the country and world).

They are built around our three shared goals:

  1. Inspire more people to give biking a try.
  2. Inform all road-users about vital rules and roadway etiquette.
  3. Empower more people to create and grow biking in their communities.

Bike ClubRandle Highlands Elementary Bike Club

Your tax-deductible contributions to WABA are shaping the culture on your roads, creating more bike advocates in your communities, and introducing new generations to biking. Your donations fuel the programs, fill classes, fund the outreach, and foster the community that drives bicycle advocacy.

Here’s all the programming your contributions support:

  • Youth and family education: training up new generations in schools, workshops and rodeos, and our summer Bike Camp!
  • Adult education: teaching people how to bike confidently, legally, and respectfully through City Cycling classes, Adult Learn to Ride classes, and workplace Everyday Biking Seminars,
  • The DC Bike Ambassador and PAL Ambassadors: empowering volunteers to lead community-driven outreach,
  • Women & Bicycles: inspiring more women to bike, teach, engineer, plan, and advocate within the bike movement,
  • And the Trail Rangers: spreading care and caring for DC trails.

2016 Education By The Numbers

  • Adults taught how to ride a bicycle: 288
  • People taught to ride confidently, legally, and respectfully: 457
  • People taught how to bike to work: 330
  • Hours of teaching by WABA instructors: 541
  • Bike Camp! miles ridden by campers: 122
  • Kids taught to bike better: 2,145
  • Bike puns: [number redacted]

 

2016 Outreach By The Numbers:

  • Volunteer Ambassadors: 225
  • Miles ridden pulling our Bike PSA trailers: 284
  • Bags of debris collected by Trail Rangers: 223
  • Bells distributed on the trails: 100
  • Coffee distributed on the trails: 1,920 ounces
  • Days of the week the Rangers are out on trails: 7
  • One-on-one conversations at community events, fairs, and expos: 9,140 (yep, we count them!)

If you’ve already donated, thank you! Your bike rides improve when WABA succeeds. And we succeed because people like you choose to contribute your time and your hard-earned money to better bicycling. Please consider a mid-year tax-deductible donation to the persistent and critical action that will lead to a region that truly prioritizes bicycling.

 

 

 

Join the WABA Board of Directors!

As part of its commitment to ensuring that WABA is able carry out its new 2020 Strategic Plan, WABA’s board of directors is once again looking for people with a passion to help make the Washington area a safer and more welcoming environment for people using bikes. To this end, WABA’s Board Nominating Committee is searching for director candidates with strong leadership skills and experience in helping non-profit organizations execute strategy and development plans.

WABA continues to enjoy a growing base of loyal members and a diversifying funding base. Still, we have a particular interest in candidates who can help us further expand our partnerships with a broader pool of private organizations and individuals who share and will support WABA’s goal of making the Washington area the most bicycle friendly in the world. Direct experience with membership development, institutional giving, and major gifts a plus.

We are also looking for a candidate to assist our existing Treasurer in ensuring that our financial monitoring and oversight mechanisms are robust and efficient.

WABA continues to look for board members and partners who can help us ensure that our mission and programming serves the needs of bicyclists in low-income, underserved or local immigrant communities.

WABA board members are volunteers who serve two year terms and are expected to participate in regularly scheduled board meetings (6-7 per year), serve on board committees as needed, provide counsel to WABA staff in their areas of expertise, and make WABA a significant part of their individual philanthropy.

WABA’s board also has a number of committees focused on areas such as advocacy, administration/finance, development, programming, and membership. Board membership is not required for membership on these committees, and some candidates may find service on these committees may be better suited to their time and interests. If you think that you might be interested in appointed (i.e., non-board member) service on these committees, please email mark@waba.org.

Candidates who are interested in exploring whether their skills and interests align with WABA’s are invited to make an initial expression of interest in board membership by filling out the form here.  If you have previously filled out an expression of interest, and remain interested, please email me at mark@waba.org.  While the search for director candidates is an ongoing one, the board expects to present a slate of candidates at the February 25 annual meeting.

Mark Blacknell is the President of the WABA Board of Directors.

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.

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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.

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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 jon.gonzalez@waba.org for upcoming trainings.