Update: Globe Gives Cyclists A Say

After the anti-cyclist column last week, the Globe today printed Letters to the Editor from MassBike Executive Director David Watson and others. Most of the letters touch on the theme that there is a broader issue of mutual respect among all road users, and targeting cyclists is not the solution.

Globe Attacks Cyclists, MassBike Responds

Today's Boston Globe included an anti-bicyclist column that focused on a narrow view of bicyclist behavior to argue that we should be banned from Boston streets. While risking drawing more attention to this screed than it deserves, MassBike thought it necessary to respond. MassBike Executive Director David Watson submitted the following letter to the editor:

While I agree that too many bicyclists fail to obey the traffic laws (along with vastly larger numbers of motorists and pedestrians), shame on The Globe for publishing the sort of uninformed, inflammatory nonsense Brian McGrory expressed in “Make Boston bicycle-free”. Yes, everyone should obey traffic laws, and the police should enforce those laws. Targeted enforcement against bicyclists might encourage more bicyclists to follow the rules, but it does nothing to address the larger problem of everyone’s lack of respect for everyone else on the road, whether they are cyclists, drivers, or walkers. Stoking resentment of bicyclists among those driving several tons of steel is no way to improve roadway safety. There is no measure by which bicyclists cause more than a small fraction of the safety problems on Boston roads, and we are disproportionately the victims. Mr. McGrory also grossly mischaracterizes and stereotypes bicyclists. I respectfully suggest that he go outside and actually look at who is riding bicycles: he will see that many (perhaps most) of the people biking in Boston today are not packs of Lance Armstrong wannabes but individuals wearing regular clothes using a bicycle as transportation to get somewhere. Bicyclists are not going away and have in fact quadrupled in Boston in just the last three years. Bicycles are an efficient, affordable way to get around town, and enable people to get to jobs, school, and other opportunities that otherwise may not be easily accessible without a car or a T pass. The bike share program is a supremely flexible and affordable public transportation system that taps into this growing need, and it has been successful in big cities all over the world.

Statewide On-Bike Safety Classes Starting in August


Starting in August, several on-bike safety classes will be offered around the state as part of our restructured Education Program.  We have hired seven instructors located in the different regions who are eager to start using their bike education knowledge to teach hordes of bicyclists how to get where they're going in comfort and with confidence.  These classes are for bicyclists of all kinds - commuters, recreational riders, or just people who would like to start riding more in general.  Some of the things we are going to be teaching in this four-hour class are:

  • The rules of the road;

  • The proper way to wear a helmet (It's not quite as straight-forward as you may think);

  • How to remove a tire and patch a flat;

  • and the invaluable "avoidance maneuver."


Dates for these classes are going to be listed by the beginning of next week. I already know that Brockton, Norwood, and Boston are in the final stages of having classes scheduled.  All you need to participate is a working bike, a helmet, and a desire to be a better biker.

If you think there is a need for classes in your area, please send me an email and I will be more than happy to work with you to find a location, schedule an instructor, and get the word out. We are also always looking for sponsors to either bring the cost of the class down or offer it for free; if you have any leads, please do send those to me as well!  You can email me at price@massbike.org

For more information on the class schedule and pricing, see our Education Page.

MassBike Offers Free Bike Safety Classes For Hubway Users

In late July, hundreds of shared bicycles and thousands of their users are going to be taking to the streets of Boston on the Hubway Bikeshare system. The City of Boston has ramped up efforts to improve safety and enforcement to improve the car-bicycle interaction, as reported today by The Boston Globe. A crucial addition to this effort, MassBike is partnering with the City of Boston to offer free Bike Safety Classes for Hubway users so that they can bike safely and with confidence.

The free one-hour workshops will go over the rules of the road, strategies for staying safe, and tips for staying comfortable while in the saddle.  There will be a question and answer session at the end, and all you need to bring to participate is yourself and an enthusiasm for safer biking.

Click here to register for a class, and visit the Hubway Safety Page for more general information on biking safely in Boston.  Also check out MassBike's Same Roads Same Rules campaign and our Go By Bike brochure for more tips.

Action Alert! Congress Proposes Stripping Millions of Dollars of Bicycle Funding

Last week, the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee released its proposed six-year transportation bill, which would cut funding to critical bicycle and pedestrian programs such as Transportation Enhancements and Safe Routes to School.  These programs have been essential in improving bike safety around the state. The Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program has provided $2.4 million for bike and pedestrian infrastructure at schools since 2007, and over 1,200 students participated in SRTS bike safety courses in Spring 2011 alone. The second important funding source, Transportation Enhancements, has been used for multi-use paths, rail trails, and other improvements around the state - over $15 million in bike and pedestrian investments since 2005.

The current proposal would not only eliminate dedicated bike and pedestrian funding, but also cut overall federal transportation spending levels by 33% and reduce federal transit funding by 34%.  At a time when our roads are crumbling, trains and buses are breaking down, and communities struggling to build bike and pedestrian facilities, this proposal will erase decades of progress.  We need you to call your representative and senators and urge them to preserve dedicated bicycle funding.

When you call, you can use these talking points:

  • Funding For Bicycling And Walking Is At Risk We are concerned that this proposal will lead to the elimination of funding for programs such as Transportation Enhancements and Safe Routes to School.

  • We Already Underinvest In Biking And Walking Just 1.5 percent of federal transportation dollars currently support bicycling and walking, although these two modes represent 12 percent of all trips in the United States. Bicycling and walking are growing in significance to our transportation system and yet only a tiny fraction of transportation funding is allocated to these essential and affordable modes.

  • Bicyclists And Pedestrians Make Up A Disproportionate Number Of Roadway Fatalities 14 percent of roadway fatalities are bicyclists or pedestrians. Small investments in improving roadway safety not only make our roads safer for bicyclists and pedestrians but also make drivers feel more comfortable and reduce conflicts among all road users.

  • Biking And Walking Are Great Investments Bicycling and walking improvements are relatively inexpensive, highly cost-effective investments that produce more jobs per dollar than road repair and upgrades; they also boost local small businesses and increase real estate values.

  • Biking And Walking Help Solve Many Problems In these tough economic times, we must invest in solutions that solve multiple problems: biking and walking are low-cost transportation options that improve safety, health and air quality; they reduce dependence on foreign oil.


All of our representatives and senators expressed support for bicycling when we visited them in Washington, DC, in March for the National Bike Summit. Now more than ever it is important to remind the Congressional delegation to step up and defend these programs and current funding levels. Please contact your Congressional Representative asking that they maintain dedicated bicycle and pedestrian funding in the transportation bill. Here are the phone numbers for all the U.S. Representatives for Massachusetts:





































































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

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 Email
Senator Kerry, John 202-224-2742 Contact Sen. Kerry
Senator Brown, Scott 202-224-4543 Contact Sen. Brown

Take action and stand up for bike/ped programs and restoration of funding to transportation!

MassBike Receives Grant From Clif Bar And Two Awesome Members

Thanks to Clif Bar's 2 Mile Challenge and one of it's feature challenge winners, Jesse Edsell-Vetter, MassBike was given a grant of $1,000 dollars!

Clif Bar is helping raise awareness that almost 40% of all urban travel happens within two miles of where people live and that 90% of that travel happens by car! The Clif Bar 2 Mile Challenge has created a competition to see how many car trips could be replaced with a bike instead. A winner of the June challenge was Jesse Edsell-Vetter, a MassBike member, who generously decided to direct a $1,000 grant to MassBike.



Jesse won the June featured challenge where he and his son, Yoni, personally got to give a grant to a bicycle or climate change nonprofit doing good work in their community. Jesse and Yoni are both avid riders and like to get out for longer rides on weekends. They granted the money to MassBike, as Yoni says, "so that there will be more bike lanes for people who ride".

This generous grant to MassBike from two of our members is a wonderful gift and will further help our advocacy efforts. We thank Jesse, Yoni and Clif Bar for this gift and congratulations to Jesse and Yoni for winning the June challenge.

To read more about the 2 Mile Challenge visit the blog here or visit their facebook page for more information and personal stories.

Vive le Vélo! - Bastille Day Ride

Allez! On July 14, 1789 the citizens of Paris stormed the Bastille. On July 17, 2011, the cyclists of MassBike will meet at the French Cultural Center in Boston's Back Bay, then storm via vélo (bicycle) to Harvard Square for the Holyoke Street party. We will go by way of Boston College to see some Gothic architecture (a style that originated in Medieval France).

Parisians throw a fete on the Champs-Élysées on July 14th; cyclists in the Commonwealth will fete a le vélo on Sunday, July 17. Why the delay? Because that's the day of the Bastille Day street party in Cambridge. The street party will have all kinds of French food and a European beer garden! So throw on your best beret,  wrap yourself in the Tri Colo, and join us for one of our great summer MassBike Spins Series rides.

As with all MassBike rides, helmets are required over your berets.

When: July 17, 2011. Meet at 2:00pm
Where: Outside the French Cultural Center (53 Marlborough St, Boston. Access from the Park St. T Stop - bikes are allowed on the T on Sundays. Map here.)
Who: All MassBike members and anyone who loves bicycles and freedom. The ride will be 11.5 miles and will take between an hour to an hour and a half.

Please Respondez S'il Vous Plait to rides@massbike.org

Infrastructure Problem Reporting

Has that pothole on your commute or weekend ride been nagging in the back of your mind? The one you always try to remember, but only manage to avoid at the last minute? Now is the best time to report your problem and MassBike has the resource you need to get started.



Check out our Infrastructure and Access Problem reporting page. We've updated the list to include state and transit entities, so that you can report the problem to the right people. Currently, we have over 80 communities listed and we'll continue to update the list of cities and towns.

Even better, if you are in Boston, you can even use their handy-dandy Android and iPhone app, Citizens Connect. The app allows you to take a picture of the problem and send it in right away.

Getting the problem reported is the first step to having it fixed, so look at our list and let someone hear about that pothole.

Ride The Harbor To The Bay

Harbor to the Bay is a one day bike ride from Boston to Provincetown that improves community awareness and care for people living with HIV and AIDS. Our mission is to give 100% of what we raise to our beneficiaries! No politics, no elaborate production -- just a dedicated group of individuals who want to ride and make a difference in our community. This is a grass roots initiative, and we are solely run by volunteers!



On Saturday, September 17, 2011, riders will have 3 options:

1. Ride from Boston to Provincetown
2. Ride from Boston to Sagamore
3. Ride from Sagamore to Provincetown

Launched in 2003, Harbor to the Bay (H2B) has raised nearly $1,750,000 for four local HIV/AIDS organizations; Fenway Health Center, AIDS Support Group of Cape Cod, Community Research Initiative (CRI), and AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts (AAC). With 100% of all rider-received pledges going directly to these beneficiaries, H2B's enthusiasm and grass-roots focus has resonated with local supporters and community members.

For more info, please visit http://www.harbortothebay.org/

Harbor to the Bay participates in MassBike’s Charity Ride Partner Program to help support MassBike’s advocacy and education programs.

Locations Needed For Classes

As I posted earlier, things are really rolling with the education program.  Most recently, we hired six new instructors located throughout the state to teach our Workshop Series and On-Bike Tutorials.  Soon, we'll be offering open classes to the public, but before we can do that we need locations for these classes to take place!

For our Workshop Series, we are in need of indoor spaces, such as classrooms, bike shops, or conference rooms.  For the On-Bike Tutorials, we are looking for open spaces like basketball courts, parking lots, or other paved areas.  It would be a huge plus if these were also accessible by all modes (bike, transit, auto, etc.).

We're looking for locations across the state, so if you have a suggestion or tip please email me at price@massbike.org.  We appreciate any help you can give!


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