Vulnerable Road Users Bill Filed!

MassBike's Vulnerable Road Users bill has been filed in the Massachusetts legislature! The bill is the centerpiece of our 2011 campaigns, so we are very excited about this first step. Many thanks to Rep. Sean Garballey for filing the bill, and to co-sponsors Rep. Kay Khan, Rep. Carl Sciortino, and Rep. Will Brownsberger.

When a bicyclist is hit by a car and killed or injured, we often see it referred to as "a tragic accident." While certainly tragic, these incidents should be investigated and treated as more than simply accidents. When a driver operates negligently or recklessly around bicyclists, that is a crime and we want to make sure law enforcement treats it that way.

This new bill will encourage motorists to exercise more caution when operating around vulnerable road users, such as bicyclists and pedestrians, by increasing penalties to those who injure or kill vulnerable road users. The bill, if passed, would raise the fines associated with harming or killing vulnerable road users; require a traffic safety class and community service to raise awareness of interactions between motorized vehicles and vulnerable users; and it will correct language that hampers the prosecution of motorists who negligently or recklessly cause injury or death to vulnerable road users. By providing law enforcement with additional tools to protect vulnerable road users, we will make the roads safer for everyone.

So what happens next? The bill was filed on January 21, 2011, and we've now got two years to try to get it passed and signed into law. (Click here to learn about the Massachusetts legislative process.) We will need your help to build support in the Legislature for this bill at each step of the process, so keep an eye out for Action Alerts and be ready to call or email your state representatives and senators. We're also planning public events to raise awareness of the danger motorists pose to bicyclists and pedestrians, to gain public and media support for the bill.

Getting a law passed in Massachusetts is not easy - the last one, our 2009 Bicyclist Safety Act, took eight years - but together we can get this done!

MassBike Grows In 2010!

At MassBike, our members mean a lot to us—they give us our political clout, fund our advocacy, and are some of the best bicyclists on our streets and paths. That's why we are excited to announce that the MassBike community grew by over 20% in 2010!

We made growing our organization a priority last year and the results have paid off. With more members, we'll be able to do more for bicycling across our state in 2011.

Member support allowed us to succeed in 2010. MassBike, along with LivableStreets Alliance and the Boston Cyclists Union, worked with the T to revamp their bus driver training to better ensure the safety of bicyclists. With our Building for Bicycling campaign, we have been working to make sure that bicycling infrastructure is a priority and bicycle-friendly decisions are made on precedent-setting projects. MassBike also helped to organize the first truly state-wide Bay State Bike Week, which encouraged both new and veteran bicyclists across Massachusetts. We officially launched both our Same Road, Same Rules campaign and our And I Ride campaign. And recently, we have renewed our efforts to educate police as to bicyclists' rights and bicycling safety. We did a lot more in 2010, so check out our history page to get the full story.

We plan to keep that momentum in 2011. As our organization grows, we'll be able to better represent bicyclists across our state. We're looking forward to continued growth and increased efforts to make Massachusetts the best state in the nation for bicycling.

Not a member, yet? Join today and become a part of the MassBike community!

Volunteer Bicyclists Needed For Cambridge Air Quality Study

Do you ride your bike along a regular route through Cambridge? Do you ride year-round?

The Cambridge Public Health Department, in collaboration with researchers at BU, MIT and Harvard are looking for a group of dedicated bicyclists to transport miniature air samplers as they travel on their usual routes across Cambridge. Samplers will measure air pollution along roadways and the data will be used to test the efficacy of the technique. You will be helping us understand the quality of our air and what a cyclist may be exposed to along our major streets and parkways!

For more details, please contact Mike Ginieres at 617-665-3848 or mginieres@challiance.org.

Craigie Drawbridge Bicycle Access Reminder

We posted about the Craigie Drawbridge closures back in November, but since the second round of project closures has begun, we wanted to leave a reminder.

The Craigie Drawbridge is a major route between Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville for bicyclists and motorists. No inbound (Boston-bound) motor vehicle traffic will be permitted from January-April 2011. Outbound (Cambridge- and Somerville-bound) travel lanes will remain open throughout the project. The good news is that two-way bicycle access will be maintained at all times, with a combination of shared travel lanes and shared sidewalk.

The outbound travel lanes will be marked as shared lanes so that motorists know to expect bicycles in the lane. Throughout the project, bicyclists may also share the sidewalks with pedestrians, but the sidewalks will be narrow (7 feet) and only one sidewalk will be open from January-April 2011 to serve two-way bicycle and pedestrian traffic. Bicyclists and pedestrians may be directed to cross from one side of the street to the other, but there will be a marked crosswalk with a crossing guard. As conditions dictate, bicyclists may be asked to walk their bikes across the temporary bridge.

Yes, this will be inconvenient, but MassDOT is trying hard to help by maintaining two-way access for bikes and pedestrians (but not for cars). If anyone encounters an unexpected problem or safety issue as the project progresses, please let us know so that we can work with MassDOT to address any issues.

MassBike Kicks Off New Police Training Campaign

MassBike has a long history of supporting police training to improve bicyclist safety. In fact, MassBike literally wrote the book on police training when it comes to bicycles, much of which is available on our website. Now the time has come to update our police training to reflect recent changes in the law and to better suit the current needs of law enforcement and bicyclists across our state.

The 2009 Bicyclist Safety Act included a police training requirement, and we are making consistent statewide implementation of this training one of our priority campaigns for 2011. We will be creating educational materials about bicycle-related laws, behavior by bicyclists and motorists, and issues that bicyclists face that officers should be aware of. We'll also work with state and local law enforcement to develop effective ways of delivering this training to new recruits and in-service officers.

Our plans got a jumpstart recently when the City of Boston asked us to assist the Boston Police Department's efforts to educate its officers about the laws related to bicycling. We put together a brand-new law enforcement guide, which includes information about bicycling laws and bicyclists, laws about motorist interactions with bicyclists, explanations of common bike-related pavement markings and signage, and more. We're working in collaboration with the BPD to make this work-in-progress the most useful training and reference tool possible. We'll post the final product in our "publications" section.

We appreciate that the City reached out to MassBike for our expertise in bike law and education. It's a great way to begin our new police training campaign!

MassBike Is Hiring: Program Manager

MassBike, the Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition, is seeking a full-time Program Manager. This brand-new role has broad responsibility including managing our education program, coordinating outreach activities, and participating in advocacy projects. The Program Manager will report to the Executive Director, and will work closely with both the Executive Director and the Development Manager. This position is based in our office in Boston.

About MassBike:
MassBike is the statewide bicycling advocacy group for Massachusetts, with a growing membership and three chapters: Metro Boston, Pioneer Valley, and Cape Cod & Islands. MassBike improves the bicycling environment in Massachusetts and encourages bicycling for transportation and recreation. MassBike’s programs focus on promoting bicycle-friendly legislation; improving bicycle access and safety on roads and public transportation; educating bicyclists, motorists, police, and children about bicycling; and encouraging people to ride.

Responsibilities:

  • Manage existing Safe Routes to School bike safety training program, including recruiting, training, coordinating, and supervising instructors; coordinating with statewide SRTS program office; preparing invoices and payment requests.

  • Manage existing workplace commuter workshop program, including recruiting, training, coordinating, and supervising instructors; scheduling workshops; teaching workshops as needed; preparing invoices and payment requests.

  • Manage other education activities, including program evaluation and development.

  • Regularly contribute blog posts about MassBike’s advocacy work and programs, and coordinate email newsletter production.

  • Represent MassBike at public events and actively seek out opportunities to communicate MassBike’s message to the public.

  • Develop innovative ways deliver our message and generate more interest in and excitement about MassBike.

  • Work with Development Manager to increase our volunteer capacity for events.

  • Provide advocacy support to Executive Director, including assisting with or taking primary responsibility for specific advocacy projects.



Qualifications:

  • College degree or equivalent relevant work experience. Nonprofit and advocacy experience preferred.

  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills, both writing and speaking. Public speaking experience desirable.

  • Excellent time management and organizational skills required – it will be challenging to balance this multi-faceted position.

  • Interest and participation in bicycling strongly preferred.

  • Willingness to work some nights and weekends for events and meetings.

  • Ability to take initiative and work independently.

  • Experience and comfort working with computers (Windows; Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook; QuickBooks or other accounting software; WordPress or other website content management system; Facebook, Twitter, blogs, or other social media).

  • Driver’s license (unfortunately, we can’t ride our bikes everywhere).

  • Flexibility to pitch in wherever needed in a small organization.



Pay and Benefits:
Salary plus benefits including medical and dental insurance, paid vacation, and paid holidays.

To Apply:
Please submit a resume and thoughtful cover letter explaining your interest in MassBike and why you are a great candidate for this position to jobs@massbike.org.

MassBike Chapter Summit Success!

[caption id="attachment_3918" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Not the MassBike Chapter Summit!"][/caption]On December 4th, MassBike held it's first Chapter Summit in Worcester and we are happy to report that the event was a success!

We had about 20 participants who took part in discussion and brainstorming about how MassBike can better create, support, and utilize our chapters. Participants ranged from current chapter members, to people interested in starting new chapters in their communities, to MassBike members looking to become more involved in the organization. We learned a lot about what chapters need and how MassBike can be stronger regionally. We're already beginning to implement some of the ideas from the summit for better communication among the chapters and the MassBike staff.

Moving forward, you'll hear more about what our chapters are doing locally. We'll have updates on their campaigns and successes on our website and more info about their events on our calendar, so that you can see what MassBike has been doing regionally.

Our notes from the summit are available here (discussion notes) and here (flipchart/brainstorming notes). We welcome additional comments and thoughts.

Special thanks to our hosts in Worcester, Jonathan Church and the Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission (CMRPC), who provided great space and hospitality for the Summit.

If you'd like to get more involved with a chapter, find out more at the Pioneer Valley Chapter page, the Cape Cod and Islands Chapter page, or the Boston Chapter page. Not a chapter in your area, but interested in finding out more about starting one? Email bikeinfo@massbike.org to get more info.

Jingle Ride Rained Out: New Date December 19th

The 14th Annual Ciclismo Classico Jingle Ride had been postponed due to rain. Join us for the Jingle Ride next Sunday, December 19, 2010!

NOTE: The registration link in the email notice is no longer working - use the link in this post to register for the new date.



Don't Miss the 14th Annual Jingle Ride and Holiday Party - Sunday, December 19th

The Jingle Ride is a leisurely and festive 10-to-25 mile round-trip bike ride from Arlington Center to Boston, including the Charles River Bike Path and some of Boston's most festive streets. We'll ride into town, have lunch at Quincy Market before spinning back to Arlington via Boston's historic Public Garden, Newbury Street, and the Massachusetts Avenue Bridge.

All participants are asked to make a voluntary donation to MassBike. Suggested donation is $25 per rider. 100% of proceeds will be donated to MassBike.

Holiday Party at Lauren's Home All participants are also invited to a holiday party with food, drink and good cheer and the home of Ciclismo founder Lauren Hefferon.

Date: Sunday, December 19, 2010
Time: 10:30am registration, 11:00am ride starts, 3:30 post-ride party

Bring your best singing voice, costume, jingle bells and bike decorations!

RSVP for the Jingle Ride and Holiday Party here.

Jingle Ride Starting Point Jam N' Java, 594 Mass. Ave in Arlington Center (MAP)

There will be fun prizes for best costume, best decorated bike, and more!

Support MassBike This Holiday Season

There’s no other way to say it: 2010 has been a big year for bicycling in Massachusetts. With more bicyclists on our streets and paths, more focus from politicians and government officials, and more awareness from motorists, bicycling is on the cusp of reaching a new level.

But even with this progress, huge challenges remain to protecting bicyclists and to making sure that we continue to make gains. MassBike is the leading voice for bicyclists in Massachusetts, but we need you to help to make sure that bicycling is a priority during this critical time.

For over 30 years, MassBike has been the respected advocate for bicyclists in our state. We are leading efforts to make sure that the unprecedented support for bicycling continues during the winter months and into 2011.

With the help of our members and supporters, we have been making a difference! Here are just a few of our recent accomplishments:

  • Worked with the MBTA and other advocates to revamp their bus driver training, leading to a full-day training and evaluation for all bus drivers who have had incidents with bicyclists, part of which all drivers will have to take within the next 18 months.



  • Advocated for and won bicycling infrastructure on precedent-setting projects across the state as part of our Building For Bicycling campaign.



  • Launched our safety campaign, Same Road, Same Rules, in partnership with MassDOT and other state agencies, designed to educate both motorists and bicyclists about the rules of the road, bicyclists’ rights, and how to safely interact.



  • Led the campaign for the passage of the Bicyclist Safety Act, which made 13 important changes to law, making Massachusetts a safer place to bicycle.


But even with these important victories for bicyclists, large challenges remain to ensuring the safety of bicyclists on our roads.

Looking forward to 2011, we are planning an ambitious campaign for improving bicycling, including revamping police training to include better information about bicyclists and their rights, continued work in East Boston to remove peak hour restrictions from the Blue Line as a pilot program for the rest of the T and to help community members advocate for bicycling, continuing work to make infrastructure a priority, and movement on a new legislative agenda.

We can make Massachusetts a better place for bicycling, but we can’t do it without you. Please follow the link to donate to our Winter Appeal. Or if you aren't a member yet, please join MassBike and add your voice!

Boston Conducting Bicycling Survey: Have Your Say



The City of Boston is conducting a brief 2010 year-end survey of people who bicycle in Boston. If you ride a bike in Boston--rarely, occasionally or perhaps every single day--please take a moment to complete this important survey. They will ask questions about your riding habits and ask for your feedback on their events.

To take the survey go to http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/BostonBikes

Please forward this to anyone else you know who bikes in Boston. The City of Boston thanks you very much for your input and wishes you a safe and happy holiday season!


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