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.

The Bike/Walk Summit Needs Your Stories

A couple of weeks ago, we posted about a story contest to help us make the case for biking to our elected officials. This is a reminder that the deadline for story submission is coming up this Friday, April 27. The stories will be judged based on the strength of the emotional appeal to supporting bike programs and infrastructure. The top three winners will be awarded the following prizes:

To submit a story:

  1. Make sure the story is no longer than 300 words.

  2. Make sure it focuses on biking or walking and the impact it has had on your life. The stronger the emotional appeal, the better!

  3. Include the name of your state representative and senator (found at this site)

  4. Attach a photo of yourself or related to the story if possible.

  5. Please send it in to annie@massbike.org no later than Friday, April 27th.


These stories will be used not only for the Bike/Walk Summit, but will also form a foundation for a database of such personal stories.


The Bike/Walk Summit


You can read more about the summit here, but in brief we are going to be asking our state legislators to support bills currently being considered that would improve biking and walking in Massachusetts. For more information, please contact events@massbike.org.


Grant Awarded To Transform Communities Around The State

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health recently awarded MassBike funding through the Community Transformation Grant, which promotes active living in eight counties outside of the Boston area (see map below). We at MassBike are excited to have this great opportunity to serve communities around the state, and look forward to leveraging this expanded capacity to better serve our regional chapters and bikers from Cape Cod to the Berkshires.

About The Grant


The purpose of the Community Transformation Grant is to promote system and policy changes which improve the ability to lead healthy, active lives. On our end, that will mean working with municipalities and community groups to undertake built environment assessments and provide trainings on how to positively impact local infrastructure. We can provide services in the communities listed below; if you are interested in hosting a training, you can contact bikeinfo@massbike.org.



The priority communities for this grant are (in green above):

  • Plymouth Co. - Brockton, Plymouth

  • Hampden Co. - Springfield, Holyoke

  • Berkshire Co. - Lee, Lenox, Stockbridge, Pittsfield, Great Barrington, Adams, North Adams Clarksburg

  • Hampshire Co. - Amherst, Belchertown, Northampton, Williamsburg

  • Barnstable Co. - Barnstable, Dennis, Mashpee, Orleans, Wellfleet

  • Franklin Co. - Greenfield, Montague, Orange

  • Islands - Nantucket, Martha's Vinyard (Dukes Co.)


We'll be keeping you updated as we move forward with this grant, so stay tuned for details in the coming months.

MassBike Seeks Summer Interns

[caption id="attachment_18773" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Interning is one of the oldest forms of education - a medieval baker with his intern."][/caption]

With the changing of the seasons comes the sad departures of our current interns and a new effort to fill the void left behind. What would MassBike be without its interns? The symbiotic relationship we have formed with the strong work ethic and unbridled enthusiasm of our college aged apprentices has led to some great things. This past semester, we have made huge strides forward on two projects, the Bike/Walk Summit and an update of our Bicycle Statistics page.

The two positions of critical importance just so happen to also be two fantastic opportunities for learning. We are looking for an Events Marketing Intern to assist with our outreach efforts, and an Education and Advocacy Intern to help with our bike safety and advocacy trainings. If you are interested in either position, email bikeinfo@massbike.org to apply or get more information.

Join the Rodman Ride for Kids: September 29, 2012

Do you love riding your bike outside on those great New England fall afternoons?  Are you looking for a way to give back and help vulnerable kids while doing something you love?  Then join MSPCC’s team for the Rodman Ride for Kids on September 29, 2012.

It’s a 25, 50 or 100-mile flat bike ride in Foxborough, MA for riders of all experience levels, and 100% of the proceeds go to vital programs that treat and prevent child abuse.  We’ll work with you to coordinate training events, set and achieve realistic fundraising goals and generate corporate sponsorship.

All you need is a bike and a helmet, and in a single afternoon, you can make a profound and long-lasting impact in the lives of thousands of children.  For more information, contact Justin Tsoi at 617.587.1526 or jtsoi@mspcc.org.

Clean Extension Passed on Federal Transportation Bill

Last Friday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a clean 90-day extension to the transportation bill, SAFETEA-LU. The Senate quickly followed suit, making this the ninth extension of the current federal transportation authorization. Passing a "clean" extension (which does not reduce funding for any program) was one of our goals at the National Bike Summit. We would especially like to thank Representatives Tsongas (District 5) and Lynch (District 9) for voting in favor of the bill. The next job our members of congress have is passing a new authorization, hopefully not very different from the one the senate passed just a few weeks ago.


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