Action Alert: Ask Congress To Protect Funding For Biking And Walking

We know this is a big ask, coming on the heels of this morning's Action Alert for our Bike/Walk Summit, but we need your help again - this time at the federal level.

Just two months ago, the Senate passed a transportation bill that included the Cardin-Cochran agreement. This bipartisan compromise would ensure that local governments and school systems are able to access much-needed funds to make bicycling and walking safer and more accessible.

Funding for biking and walking has popular support—a recent national survey found that 83 percent of Americans support maintaining or increasing federal funds for sidewalks and bike lanes.

Will you tell Congress that Americans support biking and walking funding?

Take Action here.

Right now, as selected Senators and Representatives conference to create a consensus transportation bill, we need to protect the Cardin-Cochran agreement. Representative Ed Markey of Massachusetts is on the conference committee, so it is especially important to take action if you live in his district.

The Cardin-Cochran agreement ensures local control over a small portion of funds for biking and walking. The provision devolves decision-making on a small portion of funds from the states to local governments, whose leaders know the transportation needs of their communities best.

Local elected officials across the country want and need federal funding to build sidewalks, bike lanes, and bike paths.

Without the Cardin-Cochran agreement, states could instead choose to direct these limited funds towards building more highway lanes.

Most Americans want to increase or maintain funding for sidewalks and bikeways. The Cardin-Cochran agreement would preserve this critical funding.

Please contact your Senators and Representative to maintain the Cardin-Cochran agreement, which gives local governments a voice in transportation planning. There are sample letters below for conferees and non-conferees.

Take Action here.

Thank you for standing up to tell Congress that Americans support funding for biking and walking.

Action Alert: Bike/Walk Summit Call-in TODAY!

Today, advocates from across the Commonwealth are going to be descending on the State House for the Bike/Walk Summit, MassBike’s central event for Bay State Bike Week and co-hosted by WalkBoston. But for those of you who live too far from Boston, or whose schedules don’t allow attending the event, we still want your voices heard. We are asking that you call your Representative and Senator today to ask them to support safer biking and walking in your community and across the state.

TODAY, we need you to call in to ask your Representative and Senator to do two things:

  • Ask them to support three bills (click here for bill summaries):


    • Vulnerable Road Users Bill (H. 3079): This bill provides law enforcement with more flexible tools to encourage motorists to exercise caution when operating around vulnerable road users, including increased fines, traffic safety classes, and community service.

    • Senior Safety Zones (H. 1968): This bill gives municipalities the ability to create zones similar to school zones in areas they deem appropriate, with the intention of protecting a population which disproportionately relies on walking for transportation.

    • Speed Limits Bill (H. 1808): This bill would lower the default speed limit on roads classified as “Local”, from 30 mph to 25 mph. Major arterials, highways, and other main roads would be unaffected, and many states have already adopted similar laws.


  • Ask them to sign on to our shared vision for Massachusetts Walking and Bicycling Principles.


After you contact your legislator, let us know! Email advocacy@massbike.org to let us know how the conversation went. If you don’t know who your legislator is, you can find out here.

The office won’t be open during the Summit, but we will be checking email frequently. If you have any questions, you can contact us at events@massbike.org.

Thanks so much for your support - as always, we couldn’t do it without you. The bulk of our annual budget comes from memberships and donations, so please join, renew, or donate so that we can keep on fighting for safer streets. With your help, we’re going to get Beacon Hill moving!

MassBike Merchandise

Go to the following link to get yours today!

https://massbike.org/shop/

Ride Of Silence Wednesday Night - Come Ride With Us

Join MassBike for the annual worldwide Ride of Silence honoring bicyclists killed or injured riding on public roads, and raising awareness among drivers to be more careful around bicyclists. We will gather in Seven Hills Park (behind Davis Square T Station) at 6:30pm to get organized. The ride will start at 7pm sharp. We will ride 6.8 miles slowly and silently through Cambridge and Boston to Boston Common. Please RSVP to rides@massbike.org so we know how many riders to expect. If you would like us to honor a particular cyclist at the end of the ride, please send us his or her name. Helmets required, lights strongly recommended.

RAIN PLAN: The weather forecast for tomorrow is not good. It will likely rain and thunderstorm. For safety reasons, we try not to run group rides in the rain. But the Ride of Silence is such an important statement for bicyclists, we hope the weather will cooperate. Check our Facebook page or Twitter feed for last-minute updates. If we cancel the ride, we will try again next Wednesday, May 23rd, at the same time and place.

If you think you can join us, please RSVP to rides@massbike.org. And please pass this along to your bicycling friends.

Join Us Or Call In To Get Beacon Hill Moving!

The day is almost here. Next Thursday, May 17th, advocates from around the state are going to come to Boston, urging their legislators to make biking and walking a priority. If you are interested in coming to the Summit, please RSVP by Monday, May 14th (so that we can be sure to have enough food). We also have some exciting news, so please read below for a few updates.

Keynote Speaker Aaron Naparstek


We are pleased to announce that Aaron Naparstek, founder and former editor-in-chief of StreetsBlog, will be giving a lunchtime presentation on the power of local advocates to improve their communities. He is currently a Loeb Fellow at Harvard and has a wealth of experience as a livable streets advocate and community organizer. You can read more about him here.

Legislation Update


Because of the nature of the legislative process, we couldn't be sure until recently what legislation was still going to be in play for the Summit next week. We were happy to announce that the Vulnerable Road Users Bill (H.3079) was given an extension until June 1st. You can read more about our small victory here, but the important thing now is to try to move it out of committee and onto the floor to be passed into law. The other two target bills, Senior Safety Zones (H.1968) and lowering Speed Limits on Local Roads (H.1808), are also still in play and will need our support to keep moving.

Virtual Lobby Day


For those of you who can't make it to the event, we will be holding a virtual lobby day. Call in or email your legislators urging them to support our bills under consideration, listed above. We will send out an action alert the morning-of with more information, so stay tuned. Don't know who your legislator is? Find out here.

Event Details


Where: Massachusetts State House, Nurses’ Hall, Boston
When: Thursday, May 17th 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Register Here

The Schedule:

  • Before you arrive: Call in to your state legislators’ offices to set up a meeting time.

  • 10:00 – 12:00 PM: Check in at Nurses’ Hall, get materials and tips, and meet with your legislators.

  • 12:00 – 1:00 PM: Come back to Nurses’ Hall for lunch and a quick presentation.


If you have any questions, email events@massbike.org or call (617) 542-2453. Next week, let's get Beacon Hill moving!

Get Your New MassBike T-shirts in time for Bay State Bike Week

We have new T-shirts! Based on the design of our new logo, these t-shirts represent the fresh image of MassBike. Get yours in time for Bay State Bike Week and let the world know that you support Better Bicycling for Massachusetts. These beauties will run you $15 for members and $20 for non-members.

 

StreetsBlog Founder Aaron Naparstek To Speak At The Bike/Walk Summit

[caption id="attachment_18909" align="alignleft" width="200" caption="Aaron Naparstek"][/caption]Those of us in the MassBike office can hardly believe that after all of the preparation and excitement, Bay State Bike Week is just around the corner, and with it will come MassBike's central event - the Bike/Walk Summit! MassBike and co-sponsor WalkBoston are pleased to announce that StreetsBlog founder and former editor-in-chief Aaron Naparstek will be giving a lunchtime keynote presentation.

A little about Mr. Naparstek:

AARON NAPARSTEK is a Loeb Fellow at Harvard University and the founder and former editor-in-chief of Streetsblog, an online publication providing daily coverage of transportation, land use and environmental issues. Launched in 2006, Streetsblog has played a significant role in transforming New York City transportation policy and galvanizing a worldwide livable streets movement that is pushing for a more people-centered, less automobile-oriented approach to transportation planning and urban design.

As a neighborhood livable streets advocate, Naparstek’s work has been instrumental in growing New York City's bike network, removing motor vehicle traffic from city parks, and developing new public spaces. Prior to launching Streetsblog, Naparstek worked as a journalist and interactive media producer, and he is also the author of "Honku: The Zen Antidote to Road Rage" (Villard 2003).


We hope you can join us for the Summit. Please let us know by Monday, May 14th if you can make it (to give us time enough to order lunch for everyone). See below for details on registering. Together, let's get Beacon Hill moving!

About The Bike/Walk Summit


Where: Massachusetts State House, Nurses’ Hall, Boston
When: Thursday, May 17th 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Register Here


The Schedule:

  • Before you arrive: Call in to your state legislators’ offices to set up a meeting time.

  • 10:00 – 12:00 PM: Check in at Nurses’ Hall, get materials and tips, and meet with your legislators.

  • 12:00 – 1:00 PM: Come back to Nurses’ Hall for lunch and a presentation by Aaron Naparstek.


The legislation:

  • Speed Limits Bill (H.1808)

  • Vulnerable Road Users Bill (H.3079)

  • Senior Safety Zones Bill (H.1968)



If you have any questions, please email price@massbike.org.

Small Victory For Vulnerable Road Users

Your calls and emails in response to our Action Alert made a difference. Thanks to all of you and our advocacy partners for getting the word out! While we did not get the bill out of the Joint Committee on Transportation, we did get an extension until June 1st. Between now and then, we will continue working with the committee to move the bill forward.

We are particularly pleased that the bill will still be in play for the Massachusetts Bike/Walk Summit on Thursday, May 17th during Bay State Bike Week. The Summit gives us a great opportunity to educate legislators about the Vulnerable Road Users Bill and other legislation to protect bicyclists and pedestrians, and you can be a part of it by registering for the Summit.

Your political and financial support makes MassBike's work possible, so please consider joining or donating today.

Motorist Takes Responsibility For Hitting MassBike Executive Director

Last September, I reported that a motorist had intentionally hit me while I was riding to work. Fortunately I was not hurt, but my bike was totaled. As the victim, I wish it had never happened, but as an advocate I decided to learn from the experience how the legal system works and whether it would protect me and hold the driver accountable. It took awhile (seven months) for the case to move through the legal process, from the initial report, to the investigation, to the filing of charges, to a hearing, and finally to a resolution.

I think the system worked in my case, though not in the way I originally expected. I had initially hoped to see the driver convicted in court, but after weighing the options carefully I chose to attempt mediation offered by the Boston Municipal Court. The case was finally settled this week. I know this result will not satisfy everyone, but I feel that it served my purpose. My primary goal was for the motorist to publicly take responsibility for what he had done, and he did. As part of the settlement, the motorist, David Monahan of Roslindale, MA, made the following statement:
On September 13, 2011, I intentionally struck a bicyclist, David Watson, with my car while he was stopped at a red light in Boston. I purposely pushed Mr. Watson's bicycle with the bumper, pushing it completely out of the road as the light turned green. I cannot undo what I did, but I can and do accept full responsibility. In addition, I extend my sincere apology to Mr. Watson. This incident has served as a real wakeup call for me to be a more responsible, law-abiding, vigilant and aware driver. This is especially necessary in Boston where motorists like me must learn to share the roadways with a growing number of bicyclists.

Having talked face-to-face with the driver, I believe his statement is sincere - that he made a very bad choice and regrets it. I also believe he genuinely wants other motorists to learn from his mistake and do more to protect bicyclists. And I think for a motorist to say these things sends a powerful message that violence against bicyclists is wrong and will not be tolerated.

I hope other bicyclists will share their experiences dealing with the legal system. From my perspective, the system can protect us and hold drivers accountable, but the process is not quick or simple. The legal system has many hurdles built into it that must be cleared by any victim, bicyclists included, but patience and perseverance can lead to a fair result.

Bike Night Ticket Sales Extended Through May 2nd

We are excited to announce that the Westin Waterfront, presenting sponsor and venue of Bike Night 2012, has graciously allowed MassBike to extend tickets sales to Bike Night until May 2nd. Space has been filling up fast but there are still a few more spots so get your tickets soon. Tickets can be purchased at MassBike.org or by calling 617-542-2453. To learn more about Bike Night check out this link.  We hope to see you at the party!


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