Executive Director David Watson Shifts Gears

Today our Executive Director, David Watson, announced that he will be leaving MassBike. David has been with us for more than eight years and in that time has used his passion for biking to help make Massachusetts safer for all cyclists.

Watson remembers biking in the streets of Massachusetts at the beginning of his tenure at MassBike. "Bike commuters were bravely riding along, but largely limited to the strongest and most fearless among us," he wrote in his announcement (pdf). "There were precious few bike lanes in the state, and none at all in Boston. State transportation policies were just beginning to contemplate biking and walking, but that had not yet translated to change on the streets. Little or no funding was dedicated to bicycle infrastructure or education."

Now, eight years later, much has improved. Massachusetts has installed more bike lanes and increased state funding for bike paths. More residents have an interest in biking for transportation and health. In a time when federal funding for biking and walking has been cut, Massachusetts has created a state policy to triple biking, walking, and transit, and is providing funding to make it happen. With David at the helm, MassBike has:

  • Launched our Safe Routes to School Program in 2008, which has reached more than 11,000 kids

  • Championed the Bicyclist Safety Bill, which became law in 2009

  • Trained MBTA bus drivers since 2010 to better prepare drivers for interactions with bicyclists

  • Successfully advocated for improved bike parking at transit stations and bike racks on all buses

  • Expanded Bay State Bike Week in 2010 to a statewide celebration in partnership with MassDOT

  • Introduced legislation in 2011 (and again in 2013) to protect Vulnerable Road Users

  • Secured expanded bicycle hours on the MBTA Blue Line in 2011

  • Published bike safety information in seven languages in 2012 (now 10 languages!)

  • Launched the Bikeable Communities Program in 2012, which has helped more than 40 cities and towns improve bicycling conditions

  • Created the annual Massachusetts Bike/Walk Summit in 2012

  • Helped educate police officers in 2014 with our training video

  • In 2014 successfully advocated for increased funding for bike paths, including more than $130 million in the MassDOT capital budget and $377 million in bonding authority

"A tireless advocate - and a tireless cyclist - David has been instrumental in seeing so many wins for safe biking in Massachusetts," said Jim Bradley, President of MassBike's Board of Directors. "We thank him for serving MassBike, bicyclists in Massachusetts, and the community so well these last eight years. We will remember his time at MassBike as one of action, commitment, and enthusiasm."

The Board now begins a search for a new Executive Director. The right person will capitalize on the successes of Watson's tenure to provide Massachusetts with a future of greater acceptance of and enthusiasm for bicycling.

"I am very proud of the team, the organization, and the partnerships we have built together over the past eight years," Watson wrote of the MassBike board, staff, and community. "This has been the most challenging and the most rewarding job I have ever had, and I thank you for giving me the opportunity to do it."



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