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

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

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  We appreciate any help you can give!

Vulnerable Road Users Bill Has First Hearing

On Tuesday, the Joint Transportation Committee held a public hearing on MassBike's Vulnerable Road Users Bill. Executive Director David Watson had the opportunity to deliver testimony to the committee, where he described the need to have better laws protecting bicyclists, pedestrians, and other vulnerable users of the road. You can read David's written testimony here. The committee does not make a decision about the bill on the spot, but expressed interest in learning more about it.

A big thanks to those who came to the hearing and signed in to testify, even though, as feared, the bill was called very late in the day. Even if you couldn't wait the whole time, by simply signing in, in support of the bill, and submitting your written comments, you sent a strong message to the committee that this bill provides much-needed protection for bicyclists and pedestrians.

It is not too late to submit written testimony. If you or someone close to you has been injured by a motorist while bicycling in Massachusetts, and the motorist was not held accountable, please consider sending an email or letter as explained in our Action Alert.

Now, MassBike will follow up with the Joint Transportation Committee to report the bill favorably and move on to the next step toward making it a law.

ALWAYS Report Your Bike Crashes And Close Calls

As we advocate for better bike infrastructure and policies with regional, state and federal decisionmakers, we rely heavily on data to make a convincing argument about the need for improvement. In order to do that, we wanted to remind everyone about the importance of reporting all incidents, even seemingly minor ones.

Motor Vehicle Incidents: If you are involved in a crash with a car or truck, we have a list of things you should do here. If you have a near-miss, or if a driver is overly aggressive, you should still file a report. There is no RMV Aggressive Driver Report Form anymore, so any non-crash incident must be filed with the police.  When filing a police report, just describe the facts of the situation as best you can. Sometimes, if there was no property damage or injury, the police will discourage you from filing a report - be insistent, it is your right. You felt endangered or threatened, and it needs to be documented to show law enforcement and other agencies that a problem exists. And if you get turned away by the police, or if they try to turn you away, be sure to let us know.

Roadway or Path Problems: If you crash due to a problem with the road or path (like a pothole or dangerous grate), contact the agency that maintains that road (look here for contact information).

Bus or Transit Incident: If you are involved in a crash or a dangerous interaction with a bus, or are hassled by a transit employee, take down as much information about the vehicle and/or employee as possible. Record the date, time of day, location, route number or name, vehicle number, direction of travel, and, if you can do so safely, photos of the vehicle and the employee. Don't worry if you can't get all this information, but the more you can gather the better. Report the information to the transit agency's Customer Service department (look under "Transit" here for contact information for the MBTA and other agencies), and keep us in the loop about their response at

Reporting crashes and dangerous driving behavior works! Last year, the MBTA made major changes to its bus driver training in response to crashes with bicyclists. And, recently, one of our interns got cut off by an MBTA bus pulling into a stop. When he confronted the driver, the driver swore at him and then drove off. Our intern complained to the MBTA, and found out a week later that the driver had indeed been disciplined. If our intern had just let the incident go, this driver would not have learned that threats to bicyclist safety will not be tolerated.

Taking a few minutes to file reports like this will be a big help to MassBike to push for changes that will make bicycling even safer and more convenient for more people! Keep us posted at

Boston Bike Film Festival Seeks Submissions

Organizers of the 7th Annual Boston Bike Film Festival (BBFF) have asked filmmakers with a cycling habit to submit their work to be shown October 14-15, 2011, at the historic Brattle Theatre in Cambridge.  Film submissions are due September 1, 2011.

Types of films shown at the BBFF include animated shorts, narrative stories, and feature length documentaries.  Film concepts from last year's festival ranged from a sad little trike looking for love, to a cycling view of Copenhagen, to a tricked out tour of Wales.

Among the benefits for acclaimed and amateur filmmakers, the Festival offers a chance to get their films in front of audiences who are intrigued and influential to the quality of cycling nationwide. "Based on audience poll, we have definitely found our niche.  We keep tweaking the festival every year," said Cat Bryant, director of the BBFF. "The Boston bike community has shown so much enthusiasm for this event."

The event is a fundraiser for local cycling advocacy groups, including MassBike and Bikes Not Bombs. Festival information and details for submissions can be found at, which will soon include clips from last year's festival. You can also contact Cat Bryant at

State And Cities Receive Bike Friendly Awards

As a part of their Bicycle Friendly America program, the League of American Bicyclists has released the 2011 rankings for all 50 states and issued awards to those that chose to apply for further recognition. Due to the hard work of MassDOT, MassBike, and other advocates, Massachusetts has moved up from 16th place to 9th, and been awarded Bronze status. We congratulate the Patrick Administration and Transportation Secretary Jeff Mullan for their commitment to bicycling.

Three Massachusetts cities have also been recognized as Bicycle Friendly Communities (BFC) by the League: Boston (Silver), Northampton (Bronze) and Somerville (Bronze). The mayors of all three cities, Thomas Menino, Clare Higgins, and Joseph Curtatone, are all good friends to bicyclists and see bicycling as part of the solution to many issues faced by their communities. These are the first cities in Massachusetts to be recognized by the League's current BFC program. Cambridge was recognized in 1998 under an earlier version of the program, and continues its tradition of innovation to support bicycling. As more Massachusetts communities continue improving their bike facilities and programs we expect to see this list grow.

MassBike has played a prominent role in the emergence of Massachusetts as a bike-friendly state. The 2009 Bicyclist Safety Act, collaboration with the MBTA to improve bike access, and our ongoing Building For Bicycling campaign are just a few examples of how we have helped make the roads safer and the ride nicer.

Congratulations to all, and keep up the good work!

Donate Join Volunteer
Accept Credit Cards