Top Wins for Bicycling in 2021December 15, 2021
In 2021, MassBike helped make Massachusetts better for every rider through our Education, Legislation, Community Engagement, & Advocacy. By working with our coalition of partners, we were able to make impacts across the state as we rode towards a more bike-friendly future. Read on for a few of MassBike's top wins for bicycling in 2021 that were all made possible thanks to our generous MassBike Members.
Cambridge "Cycling with Confidence" Program
- Teaching bicycling safety to over 2,000 students across the state through the Safe Routes to Schools program.
- Bicycling education for older adults with our “Cycling with Confidence” program in the City of Cambridge and AARP webinars about getting back on the bike.
MassBike Connecticut River Valley Board Ride with MassBike Staffers Galen & Jes
E-Bike Demo Day at Hale Reservation
- Passing a law that unlocks local Community Preservation Act funding for rail-trails across the state by working with champions in our legislature.
- Hosting an e-bike demo event at Hale Reservation for stakeholders & decision-makers to get to know the technology from behind the handlebars and move sensible electric bicycle regulations forward
- Showcasing over 100 bicycling events statewide on our Bay State Bike Month Calendar and encouraging more folks to ride through Bay State Bike Month activities
- Distributing over 1,000 free sets of bike lights from Cape Cod to the Berkshires through our #LightsBrigade program to ensure cyclists across the commonwealth are riding safer and legally at night
Ghost Bike Memorial for Peter A. Del Sette, Jr.
- Honoring the lives of cyclists lost in crashes with annual events like World Day of Remembrance, while continuing to advocate for improvements in dangerous roadways
- Connecting MassBike staff, board, and fellow cycling advocates from across the state on a range of important issues through our monthly Executive Director Meet-Ups
MassBike's Commitment to Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion
- Onboarding new MassBike Board Members who reflect the broad range of cycling interests and regions we serve
- Participating in ongoing equity, diversity, and inclusion training to better serve bicyclists in all communities
With your help, MassBike will continue to make Top Wins for biking! Join or renew your MassBike Membership before year-end and help shape our impacts in 2022.
Donate to MassBike
Get your Tickets for Bicycle Film Festival MassachusettsDecember 10, 2021
Take some time with friends and family this holiday season to celebrate bicycling with Bicycle Film Festival Massachusetts. Showing virtually December 17th-January 3rd.
The short-film lineup includes a diverse curation of filmmaking styles: narratives, documentaries, international award-winning filmmakers, and emerging directors– there is something for everyone to enjoy. Some of the short-film line up includes:
- Kids in Worcester, MA use biking as an outlet to stay out of the cycle of inner-city violence
- Access to education is opened up to young female students in Kenya after receiving bicycles
- First female BMX competition at a major sporting event
- The incredibly stunning and thrilling view of the annual Tour De Rwanda
- The story of Marshall 'Major' Taylor
- A charismatic Ghanaian immigrant in Amsterdam who teaches refugee adult women to ride bikes
- The story of Leo Rogers
- and more...
A portion of all ticket proceeds will support MassBike’s work. Buy tickets today and enjoy some #bikejoy this holiday season.
Buy Tickets to BFF Massachusetts
Thank you to our premium Bicycle Film Festival partners, the New England Mountain Biking Association (NEMBA) and Commonwheels, for helping us spread the word about BFF Massachusetts. Learn more about these two great organizations below:
About NEMBA: The New England Mountain Bike Association (NEMBA), is a community of mountain bikers committed to creating epic riding experiences, preserving open space, and guiding the future of mountain biking in New England. Trails. Advocacy. Community.
CommonWheels is a 501c3 non-profit collective based in Allston, MA. Our mission is to use the bicycle as a tool that empowers all people to be more self-reliant, healthy, and connected to their community. We provide free skill-sharing workshops, social rides, tools and guidance, multilingual resources, and community—and we encourage participation and support from all who share our vision for better bicycling, in Boston and beyond.
2021 MassBike Annual Meeting RecapDecember 10, 2021
On Monday, December 6th, Massbike hosted our 2021 Annual Meeting, emceed by MassBike Executive Director, Galen Mook, and MassBike Connecticut River Valley President, Kristen Sykes. Over 200 advocates from across Massachusetts tuned in to hear from bike-friendly champions from across the state and learn what MassBike has been working on in 2021. Our featured speakers, Ricardo Morales, Mayor Joshua Garcia, and Alex Morse, showcased the ways local leaders are making Massachusetts more bike-friendly through municipal action. The evening also included presentations on ValleyBike and the Connecticut Riverwalk and Bikeway. After our featured presentations, Galen highlighted some of MassBike's 2021 top hits, gave thanks to our interns, and shared a forecast for 2022. We are so grateful to everyone who made the evening such a success- our coalition is strong because of your support!
The recording of the meeting has been added to the MassBike Youtube Channel, along with clips of individual speakers and highlights from the evening. Below you will find the entire recording, along with segment clips accompanied with a small synopsis. You can also view the slide deck from the meeting where you can find links & additional information.
Enjoy a Great Read and Support Bike Safety TooNovember 24, 2021
By Jack B. Rochester
My journey on bicycles and a special offer just for MassBike members.
Dear Fellow Cyclists of MassBike,
You and I ride one of the most innovative machines in world history. Bikes became popular in the 1800s because of a shortage of horses caused by - whoa! a volcano eruption? - and henceforth were called “hobby horses!” Before flying, the Wright Brothers had a bicycle shop, selling bikes named “Van Cleve” and “St. Clair.” Mark Twain wrote a ludicrously humorous article about his experience riding – and falling from - a “penny farthing” bicycle, pictured here.
I got my first bike at about seven or eight. I swear it was cast iron. My father must have taken pity on me because the following Christmas he gave me an Raleigh English racing bike with a three-speed shifter. When I got my first paper route, age ten and a half, I rode a sturdy Schwinn with a Bendix two-speed shifter.
I rode a Trek, then a Cannondale, equipped with the Mavic Mektronic gruppo, over about 20 years. Of course, Shimano eventually introduced its SEIS “electronic intelligent” shifting system, and has continued to innovate its gruppos ever since.
There’s been so much innovation in the simple bicycle over the years! As a round-the-world cyclist and technology writer, how could I not want to write a novel about cycling and a radical new shifting scheme? Yes, my fellow cyclists, I created the Spinner in the fab shop of my imagination.
My novel is Bridge Across the Ocean. It’s a story set in New England and Taiwan in 2011 about cycling, technological innovation, international business espionage and last but not least, love. It starts with a hit-and-run killing of a cyclist and takes off like a time-trialer from there.
Since cycling safety is paramount for all of us, I’m donating 100 percent of my earnings from Bridge to Mass Bike. You get a great read and MassBike gets a bunch of money to devote to its cycling safety initiatives. You get to help determine how much.
Please go to the Bridge Across the Ocean website, click on “Get Yours” from the photo menu, and choose your favorite book format – hardcover, paperback, eBook or audiobook. Payment is easy with PayPal - you don’t need an account.
As a bonus gift for your purchase, I’ll send you the Spinner PowerPoint presentation, which doesn’t appear in the book or elsewhere. Even though it’s imaginary, you’ll soon see it could certainly become a reality in the very near technological future.
So please, let’s raise a bunch of money for cycling safety in our neighborhoods. Thanks so much from both MassBike and me. We appreciate your support so much!
Get Your Copy of Bridge Across the OceanRead more
World Day of Remembrance 2021November 18, 2021
Ghost Bike Memorial for Peter A. Del Sette, Jr.
This Sunday, November 21 is World Day of Remembrance. As a somber tradition every year, those who participate in World Day of Remembrance will pause to reflect on the humanity of those lost to traffic violence in Massachusetts. The purpose of World Day of Remembrance is to note that each fatal crash is not a statistic, but a person lost. Whether they were driving, walking, biking, or otherwise caught in a terrible circumstance, we remember a person with family members, mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters, friends, co-workers, neighbors, and community members who still mourn.
Every day through our work at MassBike, we strive to build a better world. We earnestly believe that by advocating for safer cycling, we are saving lives. This is a noble cause, and we believe each fatal crash is avoidable and the dangers able to be mitigated through changes to infrastructure design, vehicle modifications, and education for all road users. At MassBike, our intention is not to focus on the dangers of our roads, but rather on the work we can do to make our world safer for everyone out there.
Specifically, World Day of Remembrance emboldens our work in our legislative capacity to pass bills that would define Vulnerable Users on our roads and require a 3+ foot passing distance for drivers, mandate safety protections such as backup cameras, convex mirrors and side guards on trucks, and standardize crash reporting so we can better analyze and react when crashes occur.
World Day of Remembrance also gives humanity to our infrastructure advocacy. As we pursue road redesigns at specific crash sites that realign dangerous intersections, paint bicycle lanes, and slow traffic, we are able to honor those killed at sites by placing memorials, or “ghost bikes,” and giving a place where a bicycle rider took their last breath a sacred reminder to the severity of responsibility we all accept when we choose to drive and ride on our roads.
How will we remember this year? Throughout the state on Sunday November 21, in cities and towns across the commonwealth, we are encouraging local advocates to organize vigils that call attention to the people killed. In the major cities of Springfield, Worcester, and Boston, where people have been killed in the past few years, we will gather to lay flowers at crash sites and at city halls, and call on our elected leaders and policymakers to join us.
When someone dies on our roads, we all feel a shudder of loss throughout the community. And together with our allies, we want to be clear that we are redoubling our efforts to extend this work for all roads, bridges, intersections, and paths. And we vow to not slow our efforts until the perceived and actual danger no longer requires us to call aloud those killed and to reaffirm our demand for no more ghost bikes.
How to Celebrate World Day of Remembrance 2021
- Plan a small World Day of Remembrance gathering for your community
- Write to your local legislators in support of 3 critical safety bills:
- "An Act to Reduce Traffic Fatalities", Representative Mike Moran & Representative William Straus, H.3549 // Senator William Brownsberger, S.2273
- "An Act to protect vulnerable road users by requiring certain vehicles to be equipped with side under-ride guards and blind sport mirrors", filed by: Representative Daniel Hunt, H.3505
- "An Act relative to automated enforcement", filed by: Representative Michelle Ciccolo for H.2426 and Representative Paul Tucker for H.2532 // Senator William Brownsberger for S.1545
- Assist us in our ghost bike memorial data collection so we can appropriately honor fatal crash victims
Introducing The 105 ReportNovember 18, 2021
Since 2009, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has seen upwards of one hundred cyclists killed in collisions with motor vehicles. Through archival research and keen record-keeping, the advocacy non-profit organizations MassBike and the LivableStreets Alliance have placed the number of fatalities at 105.
We cannot let ourselves become convinced that these incidents are inevitable.
The 105 Report catalogues these preventable incidents and simultaneously presents basic analysis as to the circumstances of the collisions; we intend the report to have dual utility as both an advocacy recommendation and a commemorative memorial. See below for a few example findings from the report.
No two crashes are the same. They span the entirety of the commonwealth, covering all 12 counties and 64 municipalities. The victims represent a variety of ages, races, hometowns and professions hailing from all corners of the world; some were temporary residents of the United States, others had never lived outside their hometowns. Each of them have family who were forced into the inescapable process of grief, who wake up and go to sleep each day with a piece of their world distinctly missing. These aren’t just statistics on a page, they are real, whole lives that have been torn from the fabric of families, workplaces and communities. This is a report about people and how data can show us the humanity within each crash.
The main mission of the 105 Report is to be a roadmap for advocacy, specifically within MassBike and local cycling groups. This report should point advocates in MA towards the people and places associated with fatalities which need the most urgent intervention to save lives. This report is not the final product; data collection will continue and these statistics will change.
Read The 105 ReportRead more
Ghost Bike Memorial Data Collection - Help Us Ensure Fatal Crash Victims Are Appropriately HonoredNovember 17, 2021
By: Jes Slavin, MassBike Communications Coordinator
Ghost Bike Memorial for Charlie Braun
Most bicyclists know of ghost bikes, the white bikes placed at the scenes of a fatal crash to memorialize the victim and bring awareness to the dangers of the roadway. “No more ghost bikes” is a common refrain after a bicyclist gets killed. After a fatal crash, these bicycles are made by friends and family or bicycling advocates as a tangible reminder of a life lost and the work that needs to be done to increase roadway safety.
On October 6, I was riding my bicycle down Elm St in Northampton only to find the road at the intersection of Elm and Woodlawn was blocked off by police barricades. The police told me I could keep riding but had to stay on the sidewalk. As I rolled up alongside the blocked-off roadway, I saw a bicycle laying on the median and a big white X with the word “bike” spray-painted in the middle of the road. A car with a dent in its hood was parked on the center median, spray paint marking the location of each tire. My stomach sank. I later found out that the bike belonged to Charlie Braun, a local musician, and that he was killed in the crash. Two days later, I was included in an email with local bicycling advocates about putting up a ghost bike memorial only to find out that a memorial was already in place. Charlie’s friends and family created a touching tribute to him at the scene, including a white ghost bike. I immediately went to pay my respects to Charlie and view the memorial. As I pedaled up to the intersection police had stopped me at two days before, a heart-wrenching sight of a white bike chained to a “Share the Road” sign greeted me. Flowers filled the memorial during my visit, I cried for Charlie and how preventable his death was. Every time I pass by Charlie's memorial, I think about him and how much work needs to be done to make our roadways safer for bicyclists.
A few weeks after Charlie Braun's death, I found myself laying down a drop cloth in my backyard and shaking up a can of white primer to create another ghost bike memorial. The bicycle, an old cruiser, will become a memorial for Benjamin Kaplan who was only 29 when he died in a fatal bicycle crash in Lenox this past May. I watched as the blue bicycle slowly started to fade to white with each pass of the spray can as if all the color was washing away. I found myself crying as I painted. I thought about how going for a bike ride shouldn't mean losing your life. About how I've been fortunate enough to not need to make a ghost bike for a close friend or loved one. But if we don't increase roadway safety, one day I will or perhaps one will be made for me one day. It's a risk I take every time I leave for a ride, one that I try to tuck away in my mind, but making a ghost bike really brings your mortality into clear focus. After a few days of spray painting off and on, the bicycle was a crisp white and ready for installation. While this was my first ghost bike, I know it probably won't be my last in my role at MassBike. But I do have hope that one day, we will meet our goal of zero traffic fatalities and be able to put the spray paint away.
Throughout the commonwealth, ghost bike memorials honor victims of fatal bicycle crashes. Since some ghost bikes, like Charlie’s, were created by friends & family, while others were created by local advocates or MassBike, we don’t have comprehensive data about these memorials and whether they need maintenance. On November 21, we are celebrating World Day of Remembrance of Victims of Traffic Violence and are working to update our records on ghost bike memorials statewide. We need your help to gather data for our ghost bike memorial tracking, including current photos of the memorials and letting us know which memorials need maintenance or replacement.
Here’s how you can help:
- Choose a fatal crash site near you to check in on
- Visit the location & check to see if there is a ghost bike memorial
- Fill out our Ghost Bike Memorial Reporting Form with your findings
- Email photos of the ghost bike memorial to [email protected]
With your assistance, we can fill in this critical data to ensure ghost bike memorials across the state are taken care of and properly honor victims of fatal bicycle crashes.Read more
Arlington installs bicycle safety improvements at fatal Mass Avenue intersectionNovember 15, 2021
The intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Appleton Street has always been an awkward one, born from 1960s engineering standards. As bicycle and pedestrian traffic has increased over the years, the intersection has become more crash-prone. Attempts to improve the intersection from a 2012 road safety audit failed, and the intersection has stayed mostly the same for over 60 years. As an Arlington High School student, I ride through this intersection every day, and it’s been terrifying.
On May 5th, 2020, Charlie Proctor and his partner Allison were out on a bike ride, heading towards their Somerville home. As Charlie approached the intersection, a left-turning car from Massachusetts Avenue sped through the intersection and hit Charlie. Charlie Proctor was killed.
Since then, several similar crashes with bicycles and left-turning vehicles have occurred, prompting Arlington to look to redesign the intersection. Throughout the redesign process, advocates have been pushing the city to quickly implement a design that improves safety for bicyclists to prevent another fatality or serious injury. Finally, this month, Arlington implemented some short-term measures to increase safety for people on bicycles. I feel so much safer on this new corridor. However, this almost didn’t happen.Read more
#LightsBrigade - Help us #BrightenUp Cyclists in Your CommunityOctober 28, 2021
As the days are getting darker, MassBike is kicking off another season of our signature #LightsBrigade program and we need your help to distribute free bike lights to help cyclists in your area ride safer.
Earlier this month, we hosted our October Meet-Up where we talked about our Lights Brigade program and the practicalities of bike lights. If you missed the meet-up or want to rewatch the meeting, the recording is now available on the MassBike Youtube Channel.
There are two ways to help support our Lights Brigade program & help cyclists #BrightenUp to ride safer. You can volunteer or donate to enable MassBike to purchase bike lights for your community.Read more
ACTION ALERT: Critical Traffic Safety & E-Bike Bills Need Your HelpOctober 12, 2021
On Thursday, October 14th at 10am, the Joint Committee on Transportation is hearing bills related to bicycles and pedestrians, including several of MassBike's priority bills for this legislative session about e-bikes and traffic safety. We need your help! By the end of this week, please send the Joint Committee on Transportation members your personal stories about electric bicycles and/or traffic safety to show the impact these critical bills will have for better bicycling across Massachusetts.
Read more below about the specific bills we support. Then email your comments, sharing why you personally support these bills and urging them to be favorably reported out of committee. The formal deadline to support these bills is Friday, October 15th at 5pm, though of course they will accept input from citizens at any time.
Please direct your emails to:
- Rep William M. Straus, Chair - [email protected]
- Rep Marcos A. Devers, Vice Chair - [email protected]
- Sen John F. Keenan, Vice Chair - [email protected]
- Your State Senator and State Representative: https://malegislature.gov/search/findmylegislator
- CC: [email protected] so we can keep track of your testimony