Action Alert: Vulnerable Road Users Bill May Die In Committee

This is it. On June 1st, our Vulnerable Road Users bill will die in the Joint Committee on Transportation unless we can convince the committee to report it out. We're not the only ones who think this bill is needed to protect bicyclists and pedestrians - many of you have voiced your support and so have WalkBoston, Massachusetts Public Health Association, Conservation Law Foundation, Boston Cyclists Union, and Transportation for Massachusetts.

Please call or email your State Senator and State Representative right now and tell them you need their support TODAY to protect vulnerable road users. We need each and every one of you to take action now, or this bill will die and we will have to start all over again next January:

  1. Call or email your State Senator and ask him or her to ask Senator McGee, Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Transportation to report favorably on H3079.
    Click here to find out who your State Senator is and how to contact him or her.

  2. Call or email your State Representative and ask him or her to ask Representative Straus, House Chair of the Joint Committee on Transportation to report favorably on H3079.
    Click here to find out who your State Representative is and how to contact him or her.

  3. Email action@massbike.org to let us know who you contacted.


If your Senator or Representative is actually a member of the Joint Committee on Transportation, it is especially important to contact them today!

Joint Committee on Transportation:

Senate Members:
Thomas McGee (Senate Chair)
Gale Candaras
Robert Hedlund
Brian Joyce
Marc Pacheco
Michael Rush

House Members:
William Straus (House Chair)
Mark Cusack
Marcos Devers
Peter Durant
Michael Finn
Steven Howitt
Timothy Madden
John Mahoney
James Miceli
Denise Provost
Carl Sciortino
Chris Walsh

Please don't sit this one out - contact your state legislators right now! Thank you for standing with MassBike to protect bikers and walkers.

Send Us Bay State Bike Week Pictures And Updates!

What a week it was! We had over 140 events this year, taking place from the Cape to the Berkshires, ranging from bike rides to film festivals to bike breakfasts! The MassCommute Bicycle Challenge finished with over 143,000 miles pledged, with the Dana Farber Cancer Institute just barely beating out MIT Lincoln Labs. And the week of events was capped off on Tuesday with the announcement of Massachusetts being ranked as the third most bicycle-friendly state in the country.

We would love to have any updates, pictures or stories from the week! You can email them to baystatebikeweek@massbike.org, or post them to our Facebook wall. You can also tweet at us using @baystatebikewk. Check below for a few pictures from the week!

We need to give a huge thanks to our partners, MassDOT and MassRIDES. It is through that partnership that we were able to provide the T-shirts, ankle bands, bells and stickers that make this week of events truly remarkable. If you would like to participate in a quick post-week survey, click here. By participating in this brief survey, you will not only be entered into a raffle to win great prizes, you will also be helping to ensure successful bike weeks in the future!

Finally, we just want to note that a lot of staff time and resources go into making this week a success. If you value the events and goodies that we make possible every year, please consider donating today. It is only through your support that we can make Massachusetts a little more bike friendly each year.

[caption id="attachment_19175" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="MassCommute Bicycle Challenge Kick Off"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_19174" align="aligncenter" width="263" caption="MassBike ED David Watson at MassDOT's Commuter Breakfast"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_19173" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Beginning of the Rush Hour Race"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_19172" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="MassRIDES with Andrew Ference"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_19145" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Bike/Walk Summit Presentation by Aaron Naparstek"][/caption]

Redbones Bike Party - June 4, 2012



The 16th annual Redbones Bike Party and Benefit is just around the corner! Come enjoy BBQ, beer, bikes and an amazing raffle, benefiting MassBike and NEMBA.

When: June 4th from 5-9pm

Where: In front of Redbones, 55 Chester st.  Somerville, MA

$15 gets you food & drink, bicycle valet parking, and a ticket for the raffle.  Additional raffle tickets are $2.00 each or three for $5.00. This is one annual event not to be missed, as  Philip Keyes, Executive Director of NEMBA puts it..."No other event amasses such a range of cycling flavors: the fixed gear messenger crowd, the mountain bikers, the commuters, the three-speeders, the chopper element, the road racers, the freeriders. All gathered together for some fun, some BBQ, some brew, some music and some mayhem..."

MassBike's Executive Director, David Watson, agrees: "Great food, great drinks, great music, great crowd. What's not to love?"

Please come and support MassBike as we continue to work for towards Better Bicycling for Massachusetts!

We Got Beacon Hill Moving!

[caption id="attachment_19147" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Click to enlarge"][/caption]

Last Thursday, May 17th, biking and walking advocates from around the state came to Beacon Hill for Massachusetts' first Bike/Walk Summit. Simultaneously, scores of people who couldn't make it to the Summit called in to their state Representative and Senator to let them know that safer streets for biking and walking need to be a priority.

The event attendees started coming into the State House to meet at Nurses' Hall by 9:30 AM, picking up their packets and learning more about the legislation we are trying to pass. We also included a list of Principles for Walking and Biking which we asked the legislators to sign on to and we hope will form the foundation for a Biking and Walking Caucus in the future. Six legislators signed the principles on the spot, and we are following up with several other interested offices (we'll be posting a full list later on, once we have finalized with the interested legislators).

The event wrapped up with a lunchtime presentation by Aaron Naparstek (pictured above), describing his own journey into the life of a community advocate. Ultimately, he founded StreetsBlog, an online authority in communities across the country on grassroots, pro-bike/pro-walk efforts. Everyone commented afterward that the presentation was both entertaining and a powerful demonstration of the impact one person can have in their community.

We have been busy here at the MassBike office following up with the legislators and leadership on the three pieces of legislation we are trying to pass (for summaries, click here). Stay tuned for an Action Alert next week to try to get the Vulnerable Road Users Bill out of the Joint Committee on Transportation, since it needs to move by June 1st.

If you want safer streets for bicyclists, consider donating today to MassBike. As the only statewide bike advocacy organization, we depend on members and donations for the majority of our funding. Without this generous support, we couldn't have organized this event which highlighted to our state's decision makers how crucially important biking is in our communities. If you aren't a member, consider joining today. As always, we couldn't have done it (or continue doing it) without you.

Action Alert: Last Chance To Influence Congress?

A small group of House and Senate leaders (including our own Representative Ed Markey) are still negotiating on the final transportation bill right now. The window is closing fast on our last real chance to impact the bill.

It's all in their hands—whether or not local communities will have access to funds to build biking and walking infrastructure and support Safe Routes to School—and we need your help.

Can you take a moment to call your Senators and Representative and let them know that the transportation conference committee must preserve the bipartisan Cardin-Cochran agreement (co-sponsored by both Senator Kerry and Senator Brown)? This agreement ensures that communities will have access to funds to build bike lanes, sidewalks, and biking and walking paths, and to help kids walk and bike to school.

Here's how to call:

1. Call your Representative and both Senators at the numbers listed below.


























































District Rep Name Office Number
1 Rep. Olver, John 202-225-5335
2 Rep. Neal, Richard 202-225-5601
3 Rep. McGovern, James 202-225-6101
4 Rep. Frank, Barney 202-225-5931
5 Rep. Tsongas, Niki 202-225-3411
6 Rep. Tierney, John 202-225-8020
7 Rep. Markey, Edward 202-225-2836
8 Rep. Capuano, Michael 202-225-5111
9 Rep. Lynch, Stephen 202-225-8273
10 Rep. Keating, William 202-225-3111

Don’t know who your U.S. Representative is? Click here and enter your address to find out.

And our two U.S. Senators:















Senator Name Office Number
Senator Kerry, John 202-224-2742
Senator Brown, Scott 202-224-4543

Use the script below to ask your elected officials to preserve the Cardin-Cochran agreement:
Hi, my name is [name] and I live in [city/town/county].

I'm calling to ask Representative/Senator [name] to support the bipartisan Cardin-Cochran agreement in the transportation conference committee that ensures local governments have access to funds to build bikeways and sidewalks.

Americans support federal funding for biking and walking. In a March 2012 poll, 83 percent of Americans said they support maintaining or increasing federal funding for biking and walking—that includes 88 percent of Democrats and 80 percent of Republicans.

These projects are important to my community. (Mention a local project you know about, or use some of the facts from your state or district profile.) Please support the Cardin-Cochran agreement so that [your city/town/county] can build projects important to our community.

2. Use the America Bikes tip sheet to report back on anything you learn in your calls.

Thank you for supporting biking and walking in Massachusetts and across the country!

Intern Returns As New Staff Member

Samantha Markovitz, who was an intern here at MassBike last summer, has returned as the new Program Associate after just graduating with a B.A. in Environmental Studies from St. Lawrence University in upstate New York. She's eager to turn that hard-earned academic knowledge into an on-the-ground reality as she works to empower communities to build better streets for biking. She is also in the market for a new commuter bike, so any recommendations are welcome!

Last summer, she mainly worked on helping to restart and expand the Education Program, successfully organizing trainings around the state. Now that she is back, she is going to be working with me (Price) to develop and market a new Bikeable Communities Training, made possible through a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. With her help, we are going to train interested citizens on how to make the changes to the built environment in their own towns and cities that make biking safer and more accessible.

Samantha is excited to be getting onto the streets of Boston now that she is back in The Hub. She is going to be learning the ropes of navigating our streets alongside other new bicyclists in Boston, and looks forward to joining a great community of human-powered transportation enthusiasts. If you see her riding over the Longfellow Bridge or in downtown Boston, tip your helmet and say "Hi" - she's working to make your commute better!

Welcome, Samantha!

Mt. Washington Century - New England’s Most Challenging Century

The Mt. Washington Century ride is fast becoming known as New England’s Most Challenging Century.  It has mountain passes that thrill the eye and challenge the soul. For those wanting to ‘test their personal best’, the Mt. Washington Century ride on Saturday July 14 is it!

This year is the 11th annual Mt. Washington Century ride, and we aren’t celebrating alone! Over 350 people will join the Mt. Washington Century ride on July 14th, cyclists and volunteers alike. The Century is completely supported with five aid stations along the 100-mile course (three on the 80-mile and two on the 40-mile), support vehicles with ham radio operators, two on-duty EMTs, and a bike repair support van (Red Jersey Cyclery).

The 100-mile route around Mt. Washington passes through Bear Notch, climbs up Crawford Notch and Jefferson Notch and over Pinkham Notch. A Mt. Washington Century cyclist reaches maximum elevation gains of 2034 ft. with ascent/decent of 4875ft; not bad for a day’s ride.

No landscape rivals the natural beauty of Mt. Washington and the Presidential Range. The 100-mile route of Tin Mountain Conservation Center’s annual Mt. Washington Century ride travels through fragrant spruce-fir and majestic northern hardwood forests, across pastoral farm fields, along sparkling streams with stunning views of the alpine peaks in the Range.

If you want to get out and ‘stretch your legs’ on a great Century Ride give us a call 603.447.6991, visit TinMountain.org or register at BikeReg.com / Mt. Washington Century Ride and visit us on facebook at Mt. Washington Century ride.

Massachusetts Rises To 3rd In National List Of Bicycle-Friendly States

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 22, 2012

CONTACT:
MassDOT Press Office (617) 973-8472
David Watson, MassBike (617) 542-2453

Massachusetts Rises to 3rd in National List of Bicycle-Friendly States


The Commonwealth continues to improve its “Bike-Friendliness” ranking from League of American Bicyclists

Boston – May 22, 2012 – In their recently-released annual ranking, the League of American Bicyclists promoted Massachusetts from 9th to 3rd   most “Bicycle Friendly State.” Last year the Commonwealth had vaulted into the Top Ten from 19th in 2010.

“Massachusetts has continued to advance through the ranks of Bicycle Friendly States,” said MassDOT Secretary Richard A. Davey. “MassDOT was recently lauded as a Bicycle Friendly Business, the first DOT in the nation to receive this recognition.  These accomplishments mark our commitment to the MassDOT mission of providing safe, healthy and efficient transportation, and the importance of our innovative GreenDOT policy.”

“When MassDOT was created in 2009, innovative policies like the Healthy Transportation Compact and Complete Streets were built right into the new agency,” said David Watson, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition (MassBike), the statewide bicycling education and advocacy group. “MassDOT’s growing emphasis on sustainability and its strong partnership with the advocacy community have led to rapid improvements for bicycling.”

The League of American Bicyclists compares states across a set of objective scoring criteria in the five categories: Legislation & Enforcement; Policies & Programs; Infrastructure & Funding; Education & Encouragement; and Evaluation & Planning.

The ranking highlighted MassDOT’s ambitious GreenDOT policy as contributing to its bicycle friendly success.  GreenDOT calls for MassDOT to incorporate sustainability into all of its activities, from strategic planning to project design and construction to system operation. The GreenDOT policy initiative includes promoting walking, bicycling, and public transit as one of its central goals as well as reaching the greenhouse gas reduction targets mandated under the Global Warming Solutions Act, signed by Governor Patrick in 2008.

Other accomplishments contributing to Commonwealth success includes sponsoring statewide Complete Streets Trainings, integrating bicycling throughout the driver’s license manual, a robust Safe Routes to School Program, the annual statewide Moving Together bicycling and walking conference, planning for the Bay State Greenway (a vision for a 788-mile network of bicycle facilities throughout the Commonwealth) and the reinvigorated State Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board.

This announcement follows another successful Bay State Bike Week. During the week of May 14-20, MassDOT, working in partnership with MassBike, and MassRIDES, the Commonwealth’s statewide travel options program, led a weeklong celebration of bicycling across Massachusetts.

For more information on the League of American Bicyclists and their Bicycle Friendly State ranking, please visit www.bikeleague.org/programs/bicyclefriendlyamerica/bicyclefriendlystate/.

MassBike is the Bay State’s only statewide bicycling advocacy organization, and has been working toward better biking for 35 years. MassBike promotes a bicycle-friendly environment and encourages bicycling for fun, fitness and transportation. For more information about MassBike please visit www.MassBike.org, “like” MassBike on Facebook or follow MassBike on Twitter at @massbike.

For transportation news and updates visit MassDOT at our website: www.mass.gov/massdot, blog: www.mass.gov/blog/transportation, or follow MassDOT on twitter at www.twitter.com/massdot.

Click here for 2012 LAB Massachusetts Report Card

Click here for 2012 LAB State Ranking Chart

Action Alert: Ask Congress To Protect Funding For Biking And Walking

We know this is a big ask, coming on the heels of this morning's Action Alert for our Bike/Walk Summit, but we need your help again - this time at the federal level.

Just two months ago, the Senate passed a transportation bill that included the Cardin-Cochran agreement. This bipartisan compromise would ensure that local governments and school systems are able to access much-needed funds to make bicycling and walking safer and more accessible.

Funding for biking and walking has popular support—a recent national survey found that 83 percent of Americans support maintaining or increasing federal funds for sidewalks and bike lanes.

Will you tell Congress that Americans support biking and walking funding?

Take Action here.

Right now, as selected Senators and Representatives conference to create a consensus transportation bill, we need to protect the Cardin-Cochran agreement. Representative Ed Markey of Massachusetts is on the conference committee, so it is especially important to take action if you live in his district.

The Cardin-Cochran agreement ensures local control over a small portion of funds for biking and walking. The provision devolves decision-making on a small portion of funds from the states to local governments, whose leaders know the transportation needs of their communities best.

Local elected officials across the country want and need federal funding to build sidewalks, bike lanes, and bike paths.

Without the Cardin-Cochran agreement, states could instead choose to direct these limited funds towards building more highway lanes.

Most Americans want to increase or maintain funding for sidewalks and bikeways. The Cardin-Cochran agreement would preserve this critical funding.

Please contact your Senators and Representative to maintain the Cardin-Cochran agreement, which gives local governments a voice in transportation planning. There are sample letters below for conferees and non-conferees.

Take Action here.

Thank you for standing up to tell Congress that Americans support funding for biking and walking.

Action Alert: Bike/Walk Summit Call-in TODAY!

Today, advocates from across the Commonwealth are going to be descending on the State House for the Bike/Walk Summit, MassBike’s central event for Bay State Bike Week and co-hosted by WalkBoston. But for those of you who live too far from Boston, or whose schedules don’t allow attending the event, we still want your voices heard. We are asking that you call your Representative and Senator today to ask them to support safer biking and walking in your community and across the state.

TODAY, we need you to call in to ask your Representative and Senator to do two things:

  • Ask them to support three bills (click here for bill summaries):


    • Vulnerable Road Users Bill (H. 3079): This bill provides law enforcement with more flexible tools to encourage motorists to exercise caution when operating around vulnerable road users, including increased fines, traffic safety classes, and community service.

    • Senior Safety Zones (H. 1968): This bill gives municipalities the ability to create zones similar to school zones in areas they deem appropriate, with the intention of protecting a population which disproportionately relies on walking for transportation.

    • Speed Limits Bill (H. 1808): This bill would lower the default speed limit on roads classified as “Local”, from 30 mph to 25 mph. Major arterials, highways, and other main roads would be unaffected, and many states have already adopted similar laws.


  • Ask them to sign on to our shared vision for Massachusetts Walking and Bicycling Principles.


After you contact your legislator, let us know! Email advocacy@massbike.org to let us know how the conversation went. If you don’t know who your legislator is, you can find out here.

The office won’t be open during the Summit, but we will be checking email frequently. If you have any questions, you can contact us at events@massbike.org.

Thanks so much for your support - as always, we couldn’t do it without you. The bulk of our annual budget comes from memberships and donations, so please join, renew, or donate so that we can keep on fighting for safer streets. With your help, we’re going to get Beacon Hill moving!


Donate Join Volunteer
Accept Credit Cards