New Stickers!

MassBike is busy every day working hard to make sure bicycling is better for everyone in Massachusetts, but sometimes we take a break to have a bit of fun. Which is why we are happy to announce our new stickers! These fine yellow beauties are the perfect adornment to any bicycle, and let the world know that you support MassBike.





You are probably asking yourself "Self, how can I get one of these sweet stickers!" Well tell yourself to relax because it is super easy. The best way to get one of these fine bike stickers is to become a member of MassBike! We will be sending them out with all membership packets from now on (new members, and renewals).

If want one, but don't want to wait, send a self addressed stamped envelope to:

MassBike
171 milk street, suite 33
Boston, MA 02109

We can send you one or both stickers, so let us know what you want. If you want more than a handful contact us.

MassBike Speaking Up For Bicyclists In Your Community

Here are some of the public meetings we've participated in recently to make sure bicyclist needs are included in transportation projects around the state.



Amesbury: Whittier Bridge (total bridge replacement, but MassDOT had not considered the need for bicyclists to get safely across the Merrimack River)

Allston: River Street and Western Avenue Bridges (these critical connections between Boston and Cambridge must include bicycle facilities, and maintain safe bicycle and pedestrian access during construction - also an opportunity to fix the dangerously narrow section of the Charles River path near River Street)

Cambridge: Anderson Memorial Bridge (this vital commuter link between Harvard Square and Allston must include bicycle facilities, and maintain safe bicycle and pedestrian access during construction)

Boston: South Bay Harbor Trail (this path from Ruggles to the Fort Point Channel area is a fantastic opportunity to get more people in the city biking and walking, but the design has some potential safety issues that could be improved)

Need help representing bicyclist interests in a project near you, or want to request that MassBike attend a meeting? Contact David Watson, david@massbike.org or 617-542-2453. While we don't have the resources to take an active role in every project, we're always happy to talk with you and see if there is a way we can help.

What MassBike Is Doing To Get More Kids Biking To School

Pretty much everyone agrees it would be a good thing if more kids were biking (or walking) to school. Something like 75% of US schoolchildren are driven to school by car, and parents dropping kids off is the single biggest source of traffic around schools (see report). In the space of a single generation, the percentage of kids biking and walking to school has dropped from 41% to 13%, while at the same time childhood obesity rates have skyrocketed (see report). So how do we reverse this trend?



One response to the problem is the federally-funded Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program, which here in Massachusetts is managed by the Department of Transportation. The program provides infrastructure improvements, education, and encouragement to schools statewide, including bicycle safety training by MassBike (click for more details about our youth education programs). About 70% of the funding is targeted for improving the physical infrastructure around schools (like sidewalks, crossings, and bike lanes), with the remaining 30% available for education and program administration. Over the past two years, we've taught more than 4000 kids about biking and safety.

We also participate in the state SRTS Task Force, an advisory group of biking, walking, education, and safety experts that provides guidance for the MA program. We ask a lot of questions at Task Force meetings. At the most recent meeting, we asked :

  1. Why can't the annual "Walk to School Day" be "Walk & Bike to School Day"? (We've raised this issue a few times.)

  2. Which schools getting bicycling improvements as part of their infrastructure projects?

  3. Where were needed bicycling improvements identified but not included in projects?

  4. Which participating schools encourage bicycling, and which schools prohibit bicycling? (Believe it or not, a significant number of schools actually do prohibit kids from biking.)


We got the answer to Question #1 this week: From now on, Massachusetts will have "Walk & Bike to School Day", thanks to MassBike keeping up the pressure on this issue.

We've been promised answers to our other questions at the next quarterly Task Force meeting, so we will keep you posted.

Traffic Advisory: BU Bridge

Massachusetts Department of Transportation



TRAFFIC ADVISORY

Evening/Overnight Bridge Closure Boston University Bridge

On Sunday, February 21, 2010 through Thursday, March 4, 2010 the Boston University Bridge, which carries traffic over the Charles River between Cambridge and Boston, will be closed to traffic from 9 PM to 5 AM each week (Sunday to Thursday.) The upstream sidewalk will remain open during the bridge closure for bicycle and pedestrian access. Drivers are encourages to plan ahead and seek alternative routes during the closures.

MassDOT crews will be completing demolition work as part of the first phase of construction on the Boston University Bridge Rehabilitation Project. All Cambridge-to-Boston traffic and Boston-to-Cambridge traffic will be detoured to the Massachusetts Avenue Bridge. Buses and emergency vehicles will be permitted to cross the bridge.

For transportation news and updates visit the MassDOT website at
www.mass.gov/massdot
the MassDOT blog at
www.mass.gov/blog/transportation
or follow MassDOT on twitter at
www.twitter.com/massdot

Spring Volunteer Opportunities Abound

Even though you may not be thinking about spring yet (unless you are wishing for its quick arrival), MassBike is busy preparing for an exciting 2010 spring season. We've got lots planned and we need your help!



Starting in late March, MassBike will be hitting the streets to reach bicyclists where we know they'll be: on their bikes. We'll have separate events to petition for our upcoming legislative campaign (more details soon), to hand out info based on our Same Road, Same Rules campaign, and continue doing our service stations for cyclists. To do this, we'll need lots of volunteers to help to flag down bicyclists and get the word out. We'll also need help tabling at events across the state to spread the news about bicycling and let people know what is going on at MassBike. All these events are fun and a great way for you to support bicycling in Massachusetts.

Plus, because some of our volunteers will be out in the great wide open, we'll need extra office support. Our monthly volunteer nights are a good way to meet other bicyclists and help out the cause. Spots fill up quick, though, so RSVP early. We'll also need help in the office during the workday to complete some of the less glamorous, but just as important aspects of bicycle advocacy.

Volunteer events will be happening all the time throughout the spring and summer. To find out what is going on, check out our volunteer calendar, which will be filling up with events soon.

Volunteer support makes MassBike work! Come out and lend a hand.

Kyrgyzstan To Kathmandu: A 6-Month Bicycle Adventure (Update!)

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Don't Miss this inspiring slide show about a physical and cultural bicycle journey across Central Asia. Listen to Sage Cohen from the Boston University School of Public Health tell her tale of cycling across some of the most rugged and beautiful terrain on earth. Be inspired, and awed by this amazing bicycle journey through Kyrgyztan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Xinjiang, Tibet and Nepal.

Arrive at 6:30 to enjoy light refreshments with new and familiar friends - presentation at 7pm.

This event is a benefit fundraiser for MassBike, all donations will go to support MassBike. Sliding scale admission ($5 minimum, $10 suggested $40 or more gets you a free MassBike membership).

Thursday March 18th, 6:30-9pm at the BU George Sherman Union. 775 Comm. Ave (2nd floor conference auditorium)

CLAMP federal funding for bike/ped projects

The Clean Air and Mobility Program (CLAMP)

$2,000,000 in federal funds available for wide range of small transportation projects including bicycle and pedestrian facilities

The Boston Metro MPO has launched the Clean Air and Mobility Program in order to fund a wider variety of projects that improve air quality and mobility, and reduce congestion in the region using federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) funds. There is $2 million in funds available in federal fiscal year 2010 for CMAQ-eligible projects and programs. The deadline for proposals for funding in the Clean Air and Mobility program is April 1, 2010. There will be four public seminars to provide opportunities to discuss the program with MPO staff. MPO staff will also provide technical assistance to applicants.

Regional transit authorities, municipalities, transportation management associations, chambers of commerce, and nonprofit transportation advocacy groups in the MPO region are invited to submit proposals. All projects must have an RTA, a municipality, or a transportation agency as a fiduciary agent. Joint proposals are accepted.

There are three meetings in Feburary:

Wednesday, February 17, 9:00 AM:
TIP "How-To" Seminar Lynn City Hall, Room 302

 

Tuesday, February 23, 9:00 AM: TIP "How-To" Seminar Marlborough City Hall, Memorial Hall (3rd Floor)

Wednesday, February 24, 9:00 AM: TIP "How-To" Seminar Weymouth Town Hall, Council Chambers

We encourage you to attend meetings and talk to your local officials


 


More information can be found at http://www.mapc.org/smart-growth/transportation/funding-programs or contact Eric Bourassa, Transportation Manager, MAPC, at ebourassa@mapc.org or 617-451-2270, ext. 2043; or Hayes Morrison, TIP Program Manager, MPO staff, at hayesm@bostonmpo.org or 617-973-7129.

Ask MassBike: Art Bikes

We get a lot of questions here at MassBike, and we like to think we also give some pretty good answers. We realized that sharing these questions and answers on our website would be a valuable resource to others looking for the same information.

We got this question from Scott about art bikes.


Do you have any leads on art bike groups that can be hired for a festival in Boston?


Hello Scott

I am pretty sure what you mean by art bikes are bicycles done up in awesome/outrageous/artistic ways, including custom built bikes (low riders, tall bikes, etc). The only organization I can think of are the wonderful folks over at SCUL, while I am not sure you can "hire" them as they are a quote "an anti-elite band of pilots testing out experimental ships, exploring the Greater Boston Starystems and occasionally other galaxies. We are an organized battalion of funk." they might show up if you asked nicely. Learn more about SCUL here.

Below is some examples of their work

[gallery link="file" columns="2"]

If you know of any other groups like this that could help Scott out leave the link in the comments.

It Really Is A Two-Way Street

I just got road-raged on my own suburban street. I was stopped at a red light, doing exactly what the law and safety required me to do. But that simply wasn't good enough for this particular motorist. He pulled up behind me. Then honked, clearly wanting me to get out of his way. But where could I go?

  • Through the red light? No - that's illegal (and often dangerous).

  • Pick up my bike and move to either edge of the lane? No - the lane is too narrow for a car to squeeze by safely. And, come on, just because my vehicle is light enough to pick up and move doesn't mean I should have to.

  • Into the left-turn lane? No - there were already cars waiting there.


So I waited a few more seconds, the light turned green and I started pedaling across the street. The motorist, rather than just make his right turn, felt it was important to yell at me for not getting out of his way (as if I had been selfish), then drop an f-bomb when I reminded him, more or less politely, of my right to be on the road. The whole incident probably lasted 15 seconds.

Motorists often accuse bicyclists of wanting it both ways: Wanting drivers to respect us on the road, while ignoring traffic laws at will. OK, there's some truth to that.

But motorists often seem to want it both ways too: Wanting bicyclists to follow the law, except when it inconveniences motorists. Then they prefer us to break whatever law is necessary, or put ourselves in danger, or just get the heck out of the way, just so they don't have to slow down or wait a few seconds.

How about this for a thought: Nobody can have it both ways. If we all keep sending each other mixed messages, then getting to work, school, home, or the store will continue to be a competitive sport. People will continue to kill or be killed (sometimes literally) simply to save a few seconds. Or we, as individuals and as a society, can choose a different way.

Represent Massachusetts Bicyclists In Washington DC!

MassBike is once again coordinating the Massachusetts delegation to the National Bike Summit in Washington, DC, on March 9-11, 2010. The Summit is organized by the League of American Bicyclists, and brought more than 500 dedicated bicyclists to DC last year. This is your opportunity to help us get more federal money for bicycling projects and programs from Congress. That money translates directly to bike lanes, rail trails, bike parking, education, Safe Routes to School, and much more. We need to show Congress and the federal government that bicyclists are a major political force!

We do all the hard work setting up meetings for you with our Senators and Representatives on Capitol Hill - all you have to do is show up (easy), meet other bicyclists from all over the country (fun), and visit Congress with us (inspiring)! Click here for details

It makes our visits with Congress much stronger if voters from each district are with us. We've got Metro Boston and the Springfield area pretty well covered, but we could use more representation from everywhere else in the state - North Shore, South Shore, Cape & Islands, Metrowest, Worcester, Pioneer Valley, Berkshires - we need all of you.

We wish we could make this free, but you will be responsible for the Summit registration fee, transportation to DC, and accommodations (home stays may be available).  But think of it as an investment in the future of bicycling in Massachusetts and America! Click here to register SAVE $$$ - REGISTER BY FEBRUARY 4TH

Need more information or have questions? Contact MassBike Executive Director David Watson at 617-542-2453 or david@massbike.org.


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