Alejandro, Galen, Vivian, & Larry with MassBike's Kittie Knox Display
During the last week of March, MassBike staff and Massachusetts advocates participated in the National Bike Summit hosted by the League of American Bicyclists. The summit was hosted in a hybrid fashion, with some participants making their way down to DC to enjoy learning from fellow bike advocates in the midst of peak cherry blossom season, while others tuned in to virtual workshops and plenary sessions. No matter how folks engaged, there was a lot to learn from the educational sessions offered by the Bike League and fellow participants.
Educational Sessions & Workshops
The Bike Summit was packed with three days of educational sessions and workshops. On Sunday, Galen and Jes took part in the Active Transportation Leadership Institute. They attended sessions about campaigning for slower speeds, membership programs for bike advocacy organizers, benchmarks for better biking and walking, partnering on state/local campaigns with national experts, and more. These sessions allowed the MassBike team to trade ideas with bicycling advocates from across the country and national experts.
Jes took advantage of the mobile on-bike workshops presented by DDOT (DC’s Department of Transportation), learning about the quick-build infrastructure that has been implemented across the district. During the Bikeways of Capitol Hill session, she experienced some of the lower volume roadways which included several contraflow lanes, and during the Dutch-inspired infrastructure tour representatives from Dutch Cycling Embassy shared their opinions about how bike lanes should be separated from car travel as much as possible. She also attended the Walk Audit Workshop hosted by AARP and AmericaWalks. At that presentation, the Bike League announced that they will be rolling out a bike audit toolkit this year and Jes got a sneak peek at their first draft. The bike audit toolkit will be an essential tool for advocates to assess bikeability and help local decision-makers understand the bicycling needs of their communities.
Alex attended virtually and was able to tune into several sessions to support her work in Worcester. She joined the session about Denver’s E-Bike Rebate Program, which our Worcester E-Bike program was inspired by. She said it was great to see other cities following Denver’s lead and supporting access to e-bikes. During the Power of Partnerships and Community-Driven Projects, Alex found some ideas she plans to put into practice for our Worcester E-Bike Program. Overall, the virtual sessions were inspiring and also affirming as our Worcester program is already following many of the best practices outlined.
Galen has been to several National Bike Summits and he was glad to be back in DC. One of his favorite aspects of the Bike Summit is getting to foster relationships with fellow advocates outside of the educational sessions. He took advantage of the ‘after hours’ events planned by local advocates, joining the Bike Polo demonstration on Monday, the Alleycat race on Tuesday, and the impromptu DC Bike Party ride on Wednesday after lobby day. These experiences allowed him to network with a variety of Summit attendees by sharing some bike joy!
Our friend at the BikeTalk radio show put together some pieces from the Summit, focused primarily on the Alleycat event and the closing reception. Listen to the Bike Talk - Summit Episode on SoundCloud.
Alejandro, Vivian, Congresswoman Pressley, Galen (MassBike ED), and Steven Hardy-Braz (ASL interpreter for the Bike League)
On Wednesday, March 29th, a group of Massachusetts advocates visited Capitol Hill for the League of American Bicyclists Annual Lobby Day. We spoke with legislative staffers in support of the truck side guards on a federal level, the Sarah Debbink Langenkamp Active Transportation Safety Act (which would enable states to better utilize funding for bike/ped projects), and the E-BIKE Act (which would create federal e-bike rebates). These three priorities set out by the league aim to improve roadway safety and increase access to electric bicycles.
Thank you to Rep. Pressley who stepped out of her committee hearing to meet directly with advocates, we appreciate your bike-friendly support on Capitol Hill! Our advocates also met with legislative aides working on transportation issues in the offices of Rep. Richard Neal, Rep. Jim McGovern, Rep. Katherine Clark, Rep. Jake Auchincloss, and Rep. Seth Moulton. In our meetings with representatives, we discussed the League’s asks and brought up local bike-friendly issues. Our entire delegation met legislative aids from Senator Ed Markey (with whom we had a really "lobby" meeting, pictured right!) and Senator Elizabeth Warren’s offices. Our Senate meetings were enthusiastic and supportive as our team shared better bicycling priorities in Massachusetts. We’re appreciative of having such stalwart servants in DC who support better bicycling on a federal level.
We’re thrilled to report that our lobby day meetings were highly successful. Representatives Pressley, McGovern, Moulton, and Neal all signed onto the House Dear Colleague letter in support of truck side guards. Both Senators Markey and Warren signed on to the Senate Dear Colleague letter in support of truck side guards. We will continue to track support of the E-Bike Act, of which Senator Markey is an original co-sponsor and Sarah Debbink Langenkamp Active Transportation Safety Act.
While we’re working with the Bike League to support e-bike access on a federal level, we’re also joining forces to support the Massachusetts e-bike rebate. The rebate was passed last year, but a timeline to roll out the program still hasn't been set. We’ve put together an action alert that you can send to your state legislators through the Bike League’s Action Alert system. It asks for the swift implementation of the e-bike rebate program and for additional funding for e-bike rebates. The form will only take two minutes or less to complete and will automatically send to your local legislators: Take Action to Support E-Bike Rebates in Massachusetts