Many folks refer to August as the “Dog Days of Summer.” We hope you had time to turn some miles, perhaps visit some new places, and be with your family and friends. For MassBike, August proved to be an extremely busy month.
Sadly, the month saw not one but two Massachusetts cyclists die of injuries after being struck by motorists. This brought the 2017 death toll for Massachusetts bicycle riders struck and killed by motor vehicles up to eight. Nancy Ann Bronder, 54, died on Aug. 7 of injuries sustained when a car struck her on July 20 while riding in her hometown of Hopkinton. Raekwan Jenkins, 16, died after being struck along Route 138 in his hometown of Taunton.
The drivers were not cited in either crash.
But there is more to our work than sad news. As I, along with our staff and board members, work in and around cycling events and programs on weekends. As a result we get to go to some great places, meet amazing people, ride bikes and learn new things.
Here are some of the highlights of our work and more from the month of August:
- The month started for me with a visit to Canada, where I spent two days at cycling events in Kitchener and Cambridge respectively, and then spent two days touring Toronto via bike share. Canada’s roadway death rate is roughly half of the US rate, with less than 2,000 fatalities per year nationally compared to our 43,000 deaths in 2016. And they are working hard in cities large and small to build transit and improve bike infrastructure.
- We visited the Pan Mass Challenge for their Friday kick-off event.
- We hosted our own EnMass ride, which helped to launch the seven-day Cycle Massachusetts State Bike Tour.
- I volunteered to run a bike rodeo as part of the Lawrence Ciclovia, providing bike safety lessons to nearly 100 youngsters.
- We toured Salem during our visit for the Witches Cup race. The recent installation of Zagster bike share has been successful in that North Shore city. (We also cheered on our staffer, Lauren LeClaire, who scored a fifth place finish!)
- We hosted Shop Talk events at Landry’s Bicycles Natick and Assabet River Bicycles in Hudson where we presented our Middlesex Revelation deck that outlines the ways that county could be the national leader in suburban bicycle infrastructure within 10 years.
- Our Pioneer Valley Chapter has done amazing outreach work, including valet service at the Springfield Jazz and Roots Festival and the Millpond Live Concert series in Easthampton.
- We met with the Friends of the Manhan Rail Trail to discuss ways to strengthen their work.
- Our Pioneer Valley Chapter just released an application process for groups to apply for small grants that will support cycling programs and infrastructure there.
- Our staffer Tom Francis continued his itinerant advocacy work attending Complete Streets workshops in Greenfield and Woburn and the Urban Cycling Workshop at the Harvard School of Design in Cambridge.
- I visited Rochester, NY where I got in an amazing tour on their new Zagster bike share system with the group Black Girls Do Bike: Rochester.
- We attended the latest hearing on the Melnea Cass project in Boston.
- We continued our work with MassDOT’s Design Exception Review committee.
- And most rewarding was rolling for a video tour of all the new infrastructure that came online in Cambridge during August!
- We also did a lot of planning for our upcoming benefit event, The Champions’ Dinner, being held September 30 after Gran Fondo New England, all part of the KMC Cross Fest.
Remember that if ware going to change transportation culture, we all need to be like water: strong, fluid and constant. Above all, we need to keep riding! Your continued support makes our work possible.
Richard Fries, MassBike Executive Director