I Am A Photographer, And I Ride

March 31, 2010
We've got another profile of a bicyclist from our And I Ride campaign. We are seeking to put a face on cycling in support of the legislative campaign that we are working on this year. You can read the rest of these great stories here.

We are still accepting entries, so be sure to read below to find out how to send in your story.

Our next story comes from Danny.

Where You Ride: Everywhere; trails, offroad, roads, other states.
How Often You Ride: Daily
My Story:

I am an outdoor enthusiast. I kayak, rock climb, fish, hike, bike, adventure race, camp; almost anything that deals with being outdoors, I do it. I'm also an Urban and Regional planning student at the University of Central Florida. I have 2 daughters, both who love to bike. The eldest is pictured below with her bike.

Together, we all ride to and from school, Publix, coffee shops, and events going on around town. Alone, I am a commuter that bikes roughly 15 miles one way to class, meetings, or to see friends and enjoy a local coffee/tea shop. And to my delight, any time we tell the kids we're going somewhere, the first question they ask is: "are we taking the bikes?"

Thanks Danny! "Are we taking the bikes?" is music to our ears.

We want to hear your story. Tell us about yourself and how bicycling is a part of your life. Just copy and paste the form below into an email, fill it in, and send it to [email protected]

  • Name:

  • Email:

  • Where You Ride:

  • How Often You Ride:

  • Your Profession/Relation/Title (lawyer, nurse, Grandma, son, etc):

  • A picture of you on your bicycle, or you in your daily life (be sure we can see your face):

  • A paragraph or two about your life and your bicycle:

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Minuteman Bikeway Partially Closed For Repairs

March 29, 2010
The Town of Arlington reports the following: On Monday, March 29, a portion of the Minuteman Bike Path in Arlington will be closed to the public. This closure will allow for Public Works to safely repair the path caused by recent storm damage. The closure will be from Hurd Field (behind Trader Joe's) to Ryder Street (by Veterans' Memorial Skating Rink). Detours will be set up to direct travelers to Mass. Ave. Exit/Entrance points will be at Drake Road (Hurd Field) and Ryder Street, off Forest St (by rink). It is estimated this area of the path will be closed for a week.
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Bicyclists Take DC! MassBike Fights For Cycling And You Can Help!

March 24, 2010
This year's National Bike Summit marked a milestone. Not only was this the 10th summit, with over 700 advocates from around the country, but we saw an unprecedented level of commitment to bicycling from both Congress and the Administration. Senators and Representatives in Congress are actively supporting pro-bicycling legislation (see details below). Rather than the cordial but noncommittal reception we usually get in our Congressional meetings, we were greeted with enthusiasm and outright support (as evidenced by the number of MA co-sponsors on the legislation below). And to top it off, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood chose the occasion to announce sweeping changes to federal policy to support biking and walking.  (Oh, and Google unveiled their awesome new Google Maps Biking Directions!)

[caption id="attachment_1387" align="aligncenter" width="400" caption="MA takes the Hill: (standing) David Watson, Dorothy Nichols, Don Podolski, John Siemiatkoski, Tom Henry, Mark Vautour, Jack Johnson, Andrew Conway, Lauren Hefferon; (kneeling) Richard Fries, Nancy Maier; (not pictured) Phil Goff, Andrew Prescott, Chris Zigmont"][/caption]

MassBike once again took the lead for Massachusetts at the Summit. In the weeks leading up to the Summit, we worked hard to set up meetings with all 12 Congressional offices (10 Representatives and 2 Senators), getting the last two nailed down after we were already on the ground in DC! MassBike has a reputation for being super-organized for our Capitol Hill meetings, and this year was no exception - we prepared materials specific to each Congressional district (read them here under the 2010 heading) and fine tuned our "sales pitch."

Not all the news was good, though. The big debate over transportation funding for the next six years is stalled, and the word on Capitol Hill is that it will not happen this year. Why is this a problem? Every six years, Congress decides how to fund all transportation projects for the next six years by passing a huge surface transportation authorization bill, to build things like roads, bridges, bike paths, rail trails, Complete Streets, and more. The previous authorization expired last fall, and Congress has passed a series of short extensions so that projects don't run out of money.

MassBike feels that we still need to build support for the programs we think are important, so that when the debate resumes, we've got Representatives and Senators on-board ready to fight to roll those programs into the transportation bill. Here are the programs we focused our lobbying on at this year's Summit:

  • H.R. 4722, The Active Community Transportation Act. Creates a competitive funding program for communities to build active transportation networks to get more people biking and walking. This means more bike paths and bike lanes that connect to each other and to the places people actually need to go. Bicycling champion Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon recently introduced this exciting new bill, joined by our own Massachusetts Rep. Michael Capuano (8th District) as an original sponsor. Your virtual lobbying for this bill on March 11th had a direct impact: Rep. Edward Markey (7th District) and Rep. James McGovern (3rd District) signed on as co-sponsors, making Massachusetts the state with the highest percentage of representatives supporting the bill!

  • H.R. 1443/S. 584, The Complete Streets Act. Requires state and local transportation agencies to adopt "Complete Streets" policies to ensure all road users are included in the design of transportation facilities funded with federal dollars. Massachusetts is already most of the way there, as our 1996 Bicycle and Pedestrian Accommodation Law, 2006 Project Development and Design Guide, and 2009 Transportation Reform Act include many elements of Complete Streets. Rep. Niki Tsongas (5th District) is a co-sponsor.

  • S. 1156, The Safe Routes To School Program Reauthorization Act. Increases SRTS funding to $600 million annually (a 600% increase). SRTS has already funded biking and walking initiatives at hundreds of MA schools, including more than 35 schools and over 4000 kids who received MassBike's safety training, infrastructure assessments at 35 schools and actual infrastructure improvements for a few. In addition to a big increase in funding, this bill would extend the program to high schools. In the lower grades, we try to get more kids biking and walking to school, but high school is the first time when students can actually make their own transportation choices, choices that could stick with them as they enter adulthood.

  • H.R. 4021, The Safe Routes To High Schools Act. House version of bill to extend SRTS funding eligibility to high schools.

  • H.R. 3734, The Urban Revitalization And Livable Communities Act. Authorize $445 million annually for development and revitalization of urban parks and community recreation infrastructure. We usually approach bicycling from a transportation perspective, because that is traditionally where the money is.  Urban parks provide proven economic and health benefits. This exciting new bill would not only fund improvements for better biking and walking in parks, but would support building connections so that people can bike or walk from their neighborhoods to the park, and from one park to another, creating new opportunities to exercise and get around by bike. Our Massachusetts Representatives agree that this is a great idea: Rep. James McGovern (3rd District)l Rep. Niki Tsongas (5th District), Rep. Michael Capuano (8th District), and Rep. Stephen Lynch (9th District) are all co-sponsors of this bill!

  • S. 2747, The Land And Water Reauthorization Act. Dedicates $900 million annually to fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which is used for the acquisition and development of public outdoor recreation areas and facilities. The LWCF has been around since the 1960s, but has been fully funded only once in all that time. Despite chronic underfunding, the LWCF has provided more than $3.6 billion dollars to over 40,000 projects over the years.

And then came Secretary LaHood's big surprise, announced from atop a table at the closing reception of the Summit.

It is now official federal policy that bicycling and walking are equal to other forms of transportation. The key points of the new policy include:

  • Treat walking and bicycling as equals with other transportation modes.

  • Ensure convenient access for people of all ages and abilities.

  • Go beyond minimum design standards.

  • Collect data on walking and biking trips.

  • Set a mode share target for walking and bicycling.

  • Protect sidewalks and shared-use paths the same way roadways are protected (for example, snow removal)

  • Improve nonmotorized facilities during maintenance projects.

We were in the room when Secretary LaHood made this historic announcement, and it capped off a really good day. Congress and the Obama Administration have opened the door wider than ever for bicycling, and MassBike is leading the charge to bring those federal dollars and policies home to Massachusetts.

You can help us do even more by making some calls to Congress:

1. If your Representative is already co-sponsoring one of the House ("H.R.") bills listed above, call their office and say "thanks". Don't forget to give the specific bill number and name.

2. If your Representative is not yet co-sponsoring all the House bills listed above, call their office and ask that they sponsor those bills. Again, be sure to give them the specific bill numbers and names.

3. Neither of our Senators are currently co-sponsoring any of the Senate ("S.") bills listed above, so please call both their offices and ask them to do so.

Not sure who your Congressional Representative is or need contact information? Click here and enter your address. Then click on their names for contact information.

There's one more way you can help to bring bicycling money to Massachusetts. Add your voice to the thousands of bicyclists already speaking up by joining MassBike today!

[caption id="attachment_1396" align="aligncenter" width="400" caption="Three-time U.S. National Cyclocross Champion (and Beverly resident) Tim Johnson reps MA!"][/caption]http://www.youtube.com/v/qhlaMnwxKP0&color1=0xb1b1b1&color2=0xcfcfcf&hl=en_US&feature=player_embedded&fs=1
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Ask MassBike: Pedestrian/Bicyclists Crash In Bike Lane, Legal Options?

March 23, 2010
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 Jim about a crash in a bike lane. While we do our best, we are not lawyers, and the following shouldn't be taken as legal advice, in fact we recommend you talk to a real lawyer, Andrew Fischer is a good one in the Boston Area

Good afternoon,
I was cycling westbound in a bike lane and an inattentive runner entered the bike lane causing me to crash into him. I called the police and filed a report, yet the responding officer stated there are no laws stating people cannot run in the bike lane. There was significant damage to my bike (thankfully both of us are ok physically),though without any law stating the runner was at fault being in the bike lane (which he is arguing), I would essentially have to take this individual to court to get compensation for damages instead of going through insurance or having the police cite him etc. Was hoping you might have some info on this?

Thank you,

Well Jim first let me say I am glad both of you are alright. We asked around to Walk Boston, and some other people and were unable to find out much more about this but we did dig up the following.

I don't think there is a state law that specifically prohibits pedestrians from walking (or running) in the roadway, although most people prefer to walk on the sidewalk for obvious reasons.

State law defines a bike lane in MGL chapter 90E, section 1:
Bike lane, a lane on a street restricted to bicycles and so designated by means of painted lines, pavement coloring or other appropriate markings.

This implies that only bicycles are supposed to be in bike lanes. But I think it is really left to local ordinances. For example, Boston passed an ordinance last fall that prohibits parking in bike lanes.

It may be that the only recourse here is a civil lawsuit. Anyone entering a roadway, regardless of whether they are driving, biking, or on foot, has a duty to exercise reasonable care, and a failure to do so that causes damage or injury to someone else is negligence.

Again I would say that we are not lawyers, and that you should contact one. We hope that this information helps and that you are back out on your bike soon.
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MassBike Helps To Bring Bicycling To Arlington Schools

March 18, 2010
Edit: Hey we made the globe, good to see so many others that support cycling to school.

Last year, a group of Arlington parents, with MassBike's assistance, successfully campaigned the Arlington School Committee and the principal of the Hardy Elementary School to start a pilot bike-to-school program at the school. (Elementary schools in Arlington do not generally allow children to ride bikes to school. The Hardy School, chosen for the pilot, is less than one block from the Minuteman Bikeway.)

School officials, despite safety concerns and skepticism that the program would work, agreed to the pilot, although kids were not permitted to park their bikes on schools grounds. MassBike provided bike safety training to the entire 4th and 5th grades (courtesy of MassDOT's Safe Routes to School Program), and the parents organized a series of activities to encourage parents to bike to school with their kids. The pilot was a success, more kids biked to school and there were no safety problems.

Fast forward a year, and skepticism has been replaced with enthusiasm. The principal of the Hardy School is excited to continue the program. And she has asked for help getting bike racks for the school, not just for the kids but for staff too! Perhaps more importantly, she is telling the other principals and school officials about the success of the program at Hardy! MassBike looks forward to working with the rest of the schools in Arlington to bring the joys of cycling to students throughout the town.
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MassBike Spins Coffee Ride: Cafe Crawl This Saturday!

March 18, 2010
This weekend is the Northeast Regional Barista Competition at the Somerville Center for the Arts at the Armory. Join MassBike Executive Director (and coffee aficionado) David Watson for a leisurely tour of coffeehouses offering specials for the competition. Ride will depart at 9:30am from Barismo, 169 Mass Ave, Arlington, this Saturday, March 20th. Tentative stops are:

  • Barismo, 169 Mass Ave, Arlington for v60/Syphon service

  • Diesel Cafe, 257 Elm St, Davis Sq, Somerville for Chemex service

  • Simon's, 1736 Mass Ave (near Porter Sq), Cambridge for v60 service or shots of Competitor's Espresso

  • Hi-Rise, 56 Brattle St, Harvard Sq, Cambridge for Syphon/Woodneck/Competitor's Espresso

  • Cafe Crema, 27 Brattle St, Harvard Sq, Cambridge for a special coffee service

  • 1369 Coffee House, 757 Mass Ave, Central Sq, Cambridge for a special coffee service

  • Toscanini's, 899 Main St, Central Sq, Cambridge for a special ice cream coffee service

  • ERC at 286 Newbury St, Boston for Competitor's Espresso

This is the unofficial bicycle version of the "official" coffee crawl. Maps will be available at the Armory during the competition Friday afternoon (and throughout the day Saturday beginning late morning if you want to do this on your own), but I will try to have some extras at the start of the ride. You will likely have to pay for your drink each stop, so bring some cash! We'll keep going until we're done or over-caffeinated, but you can bail anytime. Helmets required, bring a lock. Contact David at [email protected] if you have any questions.
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This Thursday! Kyrgyzstan To Kathmandu: A MassBike Fundraiser

March 16, 2010
[caption id="attachment_1142" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="click for larger"][/caption]

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)
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I Am A Teacher, And I Ride

March 15, 2010
Here is another great story in our And I Ride campaign. We are seeking to put a face on cycling in support of a legislative campaign that we are working on this year. You can read the rest of these great stories here.

We are still accepting entries, so be sure to read below to find out how to send in your story.

Our next story comes from Sarah.

Where I Ride: Boston and wherever on holidays.
How Often I Ride: Daily except in snow and ice.

My Story:
The exhilaration, and sheer efficiency, of biking is so satisfying. I love the freedom to explore new routes and byways on my daily commute to work on city streets, without being tied to transit routes or a time frame that makes wandering along a new route impractical. The little flecks of snow that sometimes hit my face on a late ride home are a bonus - I can feel and smell the weather and air, and they don't feel cold because the exercising has me glowing.

I now try to take my bike on holiday travel, too. I flew with it to Las Vegas (in December - too hot in summer) and rode the "strip" and into the countryside, and was able to explore lots of the town. My photo here was taken during a visit to Toronto last summer, riding out on a bike path on the Leslie Spit into the Toronto Harbor - I would probably not have walked out the miles out there, but the bike made many sights of the city accessible, and I could also enjoy the streets and scenes biking from one point to the next.

Thanks Sarah!

We want to hear your story. Tell us about yourself and how bicycling is a part of your life. Just copy and paste the form below into an email, fill it in, and send it to [email protected]

  • Name:

  • Email:

  • Where You Ride:

  • How Often You Ride:

  • Your Profession/Relation/Title (lawyer, nurse, Grandma, son, etc):

  • A picture of you on your bicycle, or you in your daily life (be sure we can see your face):

  • A paragraph or two about your life and your bicycle:

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Lobby Congress (Virtually) Tomorrow! $$$ For Biking At Stake!

March 10, 2010
Thursday, March 11th, is our virtual lobby day - don't forget to call Congress!

We are at the National Bike Summit in Washington, DC. Maybe you've been following us at the Summit on Twitter.

Last week, Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) introduced a groundbreaking new bill to support bicycling and walking: the Active Community Transportation Act (H.R.4722) creates a competitive grant program with $2 Billion to help communities build bicycling and walking networks. For the first time, communities would be able to compete for multi-year funding to build active transportation systems, just as they do for transit and road infrastructure. And one of the seven original sponsors of the bill is Massachusetts' own Representative Michael Capuano (D-MA)!

This new bill gives you the opportunity to do more than just hear about what we're doing at the Summit - you get to participate in a critically important way. On Thursday, March 11th, while we are visiting Congress in person, we need you to call your own Congressperson and ask them to co-sponsor H.R. 4722, the Active Community Transportation Act, introduced by Congressman Blumenauer. When you call, you can use these talking points:

  • Bicycling and walking are part of the solution. Half of all trips in the United States are three miles or less, yet the majority of these short trips are made by car. Shifting more of these short trips to biking and walking would not only reduce congestion, air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and our dependence on oil, but will also improve physical activity, safety, and livability.

  • Investing in bicycling and walking infrastructure works. Commuting by bicycle has increased 43 percent since 2000 - and by 69 percent in designated Bicycle Friendly Communities that have invested in infrastructure improvements.

  • Please co-sponsor the Active Community Transportation Act (H.R.4722). Or, if Mike Capuano is your Representative, just say "thanks" for sponsoring the bill.

Here are the phone numbers for all the Massachusetts Congresspeople:

District Rep Name Office Number
1 Rep. Olver, John [D] 202-225-5335
2 Rep. Neal, Richard [D] 202-225-5601
3 Rep. McGovern, James [D] 202-225-6101
4 Rep. Frank, Barney [D] 202-225-5931
5 Rep. Tsongas, Niki [D] 202-225-3411
6 Rep. Tierney, John [D] 202-225-8020
7 Rep. Markey, Edward [D] 202-225-2836
8 Rep. Capuano, Michael [D] 202-225-5111
9 Rep. Lynch, Stephen [D] 202-225-8273
10 Rep. Delahunt, William [D] 202-225-3111

Don't who your Congressperson is? Click here and enter your address to find out.

Please don't forget to call tomorrow, Thursday, March 11th, to be part of the National Bike Summit Lobby Day.
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MassBike Fights To Keep Bicyclists On The Road In Nantucket

March 08, 2010
In Nantucket, bicyclists are fighting for the right to stay on the road and MassBike is standing with them.

A Nantucket bicyclist recently contacted us to report an attempt to change the town's bylaws to prohibit bicyclists from riding on the road. The prohibition is included on the warrant for Nantucket's 2010 Annual Town Meeting in April to forbid bicyclists from riding on the road when there is an adjacent bike path. Apparently, some Nantucket motorists are annoyed that they have to share the island's roads with bicyclists out for morning rides.

MassBike is advising local activists on how to fight this proposal. Even if Nantucket isn't your community, we cannot let this restriction on bicyclists stand anywhere in Massachusetts. We need to stop this proposed bylaw before it spreads. We need to say with a united voice that "Bicyclists have a right to the road!"

Massachusetts law is very clear on this issue: Bicyclists "have the right to use all public ways in the commonwealth except limited access or express state highways where signs specifically prohibiting bicycles have been posted". See MGL Chapter 85, Section 11B. Unless the road in question is the Pike, or I-93, or another highway with on/off ramps and no intersections or driveways, bicycles simply cannot be excluded. So, legally, this is a no-brainer: Nantucket cannot limit bicyclist access to roads.

We support building more paths to get more people out on their bikes. Bicyclists also need access to roads, because paths don't go everywhere we need to go. This is also a safety issue. Bike paths (shared use paths in most cases) are a great place for riding, however not every kind of cycling is appropriate for paths. Bicyclists who want to ride fast cannot be required to stay on shared use paths, where they are forced to dodge slower bicyclists, walkers, runners, skaters, baby strollers, dogs, and more - not to mention cars when the path crosses a road.

We've already seen some progress. MassBike has provided information and coaching on how to approach the Finance Committee meeting, and bicyclist Jason Bridges and bike shop owner Harvey Young successfully represented bicyclist interests at the meeting. The Finance Committee voted unanimously to "not recommend" the restriction. The Town Counsel even reiterated that the proposed restriction is illegal.

But the prohibition is not dead yet. MassBike will continue helping Nantucket bicyclists to make sure that the Town Meeting rejects this outrageous restriction, before it spreads to any other parts of Massachusetts. We need your help! MassBike relies on member support to fight for bicyclists across the state, so join MassBike today! It is only by strength of numbers that we are able to put pressure on government bodies to change illegal and discriminatory rules, or to keep them from being passed.
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