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Ride Of Silence Wednesday Night - Come Ride With Us

Join MassBike for the annual worldwide Ride of Silence honoring bicyclists killed or injured riding on public roads, and raising awareness among drivers to be more careful around bicyclists. We will gather in Seven Hills Park (behind Davis Square T Station) at 6:30pm to get organized. The ride will start at 7pm sharp. We will ride 6.8 miles slowly and silently through Cambridge and Boston to Boston Common. Please RSVP to rides@massbike.org so we know how many riders to expect. If you would like us to honor a particular cyclist at the end of the ride, please send us his or her name. Helmets required, lights strongly recommended.

RAIN PLAN: The weather forecast for tomorrow is not good. It will likely rain and thunderstorm. For safety reasons, we try not to run group rides in the rain. But the Ride of Silence is such an important statement for bicyclists, we hope the weather will cooperate. Check our Facebook page or Twitter feed for last-minute updates. If we cancel the ride, we will try again next Wednesday, May 23rd, at the same time and place.

If you think you can join us, please RSVP to rides@massbike.org. And please pass this along to your bicycling friends.

Join Us Or Call In To Get Beacon Hill Moving!

The day is almost here. Next Thursday, May 17th, advocates from around the state are going to come to Boston, urging their legislators to make biking and walking a priority. If you are interested in coming to the Summit, please RSVP by Monday, May 14th (so that we can be sure to have enough food). We also have some exciting news, so please read below for a few updates.

Keynote Speaker Aaron Naparstek


We are pleased to announce that Aaron Naparstek, founder and former editor-in-chief of StreetsBlog, will be giving a lunchtime presentation on the power of local advocates to improve their communities. He is currently a Loeb Fellow at Harvard and has a wealth of experience as a livable streets advocate and community organizer. You can read more about him here.

Legislation Update


Because of the nature of the legislative process, we couldn't be sure until recently what legislation was still going to be in play for the Summit next week. We were happy to announce that the Vulnerable Road Users Bill (H.3079) was given an extension until June 1st. You can read more about our small victory here, but the important thing now is to try to move it out of committee and onto the floor to be passed into law. The other two target bills, Senior Safety Zones (H.1968) and lowering Speed Limits on Local Roads (H.1808), are also still in play and will need our support to keep moving.

Virtual Lobby Day


For those of you who can't make it to the event, we will be holding a virtual lobby day. Call in or email your legislators urging them to support our bills under consideration, listed above. We will send out an action alert the morning-of with more information, so stay tuned. Don't know who your legislator is? Find out here.

Event Details


Where: Massachusetts State House, Nurses’ Hall, Boston
When: Thursday, May 17th 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Register Here

The Schedule:

  • Before you arrive: Call in to your state legislators’ offices to set up a meeting time.

  • 10:00 – 12:00 PM: Check in at Nurses’ Hall, get materials and tips, and meet with your legislators.

  • 12:00 – 1:00 PM: Come back to Nurses’ Hall for lunch and a quick presentation.


If you have any questions, email events@massbike.org or call (617) 542-2453. Next week, let's get Beacon Hill moving!

Get Your New MassBike T-shirts in time for Bay State Bike Week

We have new T-shirts! Based on the design of our new logo, these t-shirts represent the fresh image of MassBike. Get yours in time for Bay State Bike Week and let the world know that you support Better Bicycling for Massachusetts. These beauties will run you $15 for members and $20 for non-members.

 

StreetsBlog Founder Aaron Naparstek To Speak At The Bike/Walk Summit

[caption id="attachment_18909" align="alignleft" width="200" caption="Aaron Naparstek"][/caption]Those of us in the MassBike office can hardly believe that after all of the preparation and excitement, Bay State Bike Week is just around the corner, and with it will come MassBike's central event - the Bike/Walk Summit! MassBike and co-sponsor WalkBoston are pleased to announce that StreetsBlog founder and former editor-in-chief Aaron Naparstek will be giving a lunchtime keynote presentation.

A little about Mr. Naparstek:

AARON NAPARSTEK is a Loeb Fellow at Harvard University and the founder and former editor-in-chief of Streetsblog, an online publication providing daily coverage of transportation, land use and environmental issues. Launched in 2006, Streetsblog has played a significant role in transforming New York City transportation policy and galvanizing a worldwide livable streets movement that is pushing for a more people-centered, less automobile-oriented approach to transportation planning and urban design.

As a neighborhood livable streets advocate, Naparstek’s work has been instrumental in growing New York City's bike network, removing motor vehicle traffic from city parks, and developing new public spaces. Prior to launching Streetsblog, Naparstek worked as a journalist and interactive media producer, and he is also the author of "Honku: The Zen Antidote to Road Rage" (Villard 2003).


We hope you can join us for the Summit. Please let us know by Monday, May 14th if you can make it (to give us time enough to order lunch for everyone). See below for details on registering. Together, let's get Beacon Hill moving!

About The Bike/Walk Summit


Where: Massachusetts State House, Nurses’ Hall, Boston
When: Thursday, May 17th 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Register Here


The Schedule:

  • Before you arrive: Call in to your state legislators’ offices to set up a meeting time.

  • 10:00 – 12:00 PM: Check in at Nurses’ Hall, get materials and tips, and meet with your legislators.

  • 12:00 – 1:00 PM: Come back to Nurses’ Hall for lunch and a presentation by Aaron Naparstek.


The legislation:

  • Speed Limits Bill (H.1808)

  • Vulnerable Road Users Bill (H.3079)

  • Senior Safety Zones Bill (H.1968)



If you have any questions, please email price@massbike.org.

Small Victory For Vulnerable Road Users

Your calls and emails in response to our Action Alert made a difference. Thanks to all of you and our advocacy partners for getting the word out! While we did not get the bill out of the Joint Committee on Transportation, we did get an extension until June 1st. Between now and then, we will continue working with the committee to move the bill forward.

We are particularly pleased that the bill will still be in play for the Massachusetts Bike/Walk Summit on Thursday, May 17th during Bay State Bike Week. The Summit gives us a great opportunity to educate legislators about the Vulnerable Road Users Bill and other legislation to protect bicyclists and pedestrians, and you can be a part of it by registering for the Summit.

Your political and financial support makes MassBike's work possible, so please consider joining or donating today.

Motorist Takes Responsibility For Hitting MassBike Executive Director

Last September, I reported that a motorist had intentionally hit me while I was riding to work. Fortunately I was not hurt, but my bike was totaled. As the victim, I wish it had never happened, but as an advocate I decided to learn from the experience how the legal system works and whether it would protect me and hold the driver accountable. It took awhile (seven months) for the case to move through the legal process, from the initial report, to the investigation, to the filing of charges, to a hearing, and finally to a resolution.

I think the system worked in my case, though not in the way I originally expected. I had initially hoped to see the driver convicted in court, but after weighing the options carefully I chose to attempt mediation offered by the Boston Municipal Court. The case was finally settled this week. I know this result will not satisfy everyone, but I feel that it served my purpose. My primary goal was for the motorist to publicly take responsibility for what he had done, and he did. As part of the settlement, the motorist, David Monahan of Roslindale, MA, made the following statement:
On September 13, 2011, I intentionally struck a bicyclist, David Watson, with my car while he was stopped at a red light in Boston. I purposely pushed Mr. Watson's bicycle with the bumper, pushing it completely out of the road as the light turned green. I cannot undo what I did, but I can and do accept full responsibility. In addition, I extend my sincere apology to Mr. Watson. This incident has served as a real wakeup call for me to be a more responsible, law-abiding, vigilant and aware driver. This is especially necessary in Boston where motorists like me must learn to share the roadways with a growing number of bicyclists.

Having talked face-to-face with the driver, I believe his statement is sincere - that he made a very bad choice and regrets it. I also believe he genuinely wants other motorists to learn from his mistake and do more to protect bicyclists. And I think for a motorist to say these things sends a powerful message that violence against bicyclists is wrong and will not be tolerated.

I hope other bicyclists will share their experiences dealing with the legal system. From my perspective, the system can protect us and hold drivers accountable, but the process is not quick or simple. The legal system has many hurdles built into it that must be cleared by any victim, bicyclists included, but patience and perseverance can lead to a fair result.

Bike Night Ticket Sales Extended Through May 2nd

We are excited to announce that the Westin Waterfront, presenting sponsor and venue of Bike Night 2012, has graciously allowed MassBike to extend tickets sales to Bike Night until May 2nd. Space has been filling up fast but there are still a few more spots so get your tickets soon. Tickets can be purchased at MassBike.org or by calling 617-542-2453. To learn more about Bike Night check out this link.  We hope to see you at the party!

Action Alert: Call TODAY For Vulnerable Road Users Bill

We filed the Vulnerable Road Users bill in January 2011 as the next step in our ongoing legislative efforts to protect bicyclists and other vulnerable users of our roadways. The bill would increase fines for motorists who kill or injure vulnerable users, and would require road safety education and community service teaching others about interacting safely with vulnerable users.

We have been working diligently behind the scenes on Beacon Hill since the bill had its first hearing last June in the Joint Committee on Transportation. The bill remains stuck in the Transportation Committee.

In early March, we submitted a streamlined redraft of the bill, clarifying its purpose and making it easier to understand. Later in March, with the deadline to report bills out of committee looming, we lobbied for and got a 30-day extension for the bill. That extension expires May 1st.

Yesterday, we delivered a letter to the Transportation Committee asking them to report favorably on the bill before the May 1 deadline. Joining us in support of the bill are WalkBoston, Massachusetts Public Health Association, Conservation Law Foundation, Boston Cyclists Union, and Transportation for Massachusetts.

TODAY, we need you to call or email your State Representative and your State Senator:

  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 before May 1st.
    Click here to find out who your 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 before May 1st.
    Click here to find out who your 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

Thanks so much for your help - as always, we couldn't do this without you.

From Capitol Hill: Biking Dodges Bullet In Latest Extension



Our national partners reported late last week that the US House of Representatives passed yet another extension of the current transportation legislation SAFETEA-LU. Whereas past extensions have been passed at the midnight hour, this one preemptively extends the expiration date from July 1 to September 30. The primary reason for this extension is to give the House and Senate time to take the Senate's transportation bill, MAP-21, to conference committee. This will allow the two chambers to work out the details of the legislation.

Unlike past "clean" extensions, this one has policy changes. The good news is that the programs that matter most to biking and walking are untouched. The bad news is that the policy changes have to do with controversial issues like the Keystone Oil Pipeline, so it is unclear how the Senate will react. America Bikes described the next steps like this:
So what's next?

This time, instead of just prolonging current transportation law, the House and Senate will conference this extension with MAP-21. Leadership in both chambers are discussing who will be 'Conferees.' Once all the Conferees are named, the two chambers could start work to reconcile the differences between the two bills and create a new transportation bill. Once the conferenced bill has passed Congress, President Obama can sign the bill into law.

When House and Senate go to conference, the two chambers will technically negotiate to reconcile the differences between MAP-21 and current law. Conference Committees are a black box, though, and sometimes what comes out doesn't resemble what went in.

We will need to be vigilant and advocate to Conferees, leadership and all members of Congress to preserve dedicated funding for biking and walking, including Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to School, and Recreational Trails. We will also promote the local control provisions of the Cardin-Cochran amendment to MAP-21.

We keeping in close touch with our national partners to send out an action alert when the time is right. The good thing is that this extension gives some time to determine our next moves. Hopefully, biking and walking will come out unscathed from this process. As usual, we will depend on your voice to make sure that is the outcome.


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