Volunteers Needed For Ride Planning

MassBike is once again planning the MassBike Summer Century & Family Ride and we need your help!

We need volunteers who want to get involved at these early planning stages to help be a major part of making the 2011 ride as big a success as last year's. The 2010 Summer Century & Family Ride consisted of five rides, with a total of nearly 400 riders. You can find out more about last year's ride here.

This year we are looking for volunteers to help organize the event from start to finish. If you are interested in organizing any aspect of the ride, doing graphic design work, helping to get the word out, or just willing to pitch in where help is needed, we'd love to have your help. This is a great chance to support your statewide bicyclist advocacy organization and plan a fun event that everyone can enjoy. Our first planning session for the ride on Monday, March 28 at the MassBike Office (171 Milk Street, Suite 33, downtown Boston) from 6:30-8:30pm. We'll provide food and drinks. RSVP to volunteer@massbike.org if you would like to attend.

Thank you!

Surveys: Boston Bike Share & Middlesex Fells

MassBike recently learned of two surveys and thought that you might be interested.

First, you can help name the Boston bike share program! The planning team has come up with a survey and would like some input on potential names. The survey should take a minute or two and you can find it here. The survey closes at midnight on Thursday, so hurry if you want to participate.

Second, the DCR is conducting a survey on the Middlesex Fells Reservation and they want your input. If you use the Fells, then you may want to take part in the survey. MassBike supports mountain biking in the Fells, which you can find out more about here.

Help MassBike Protect Federal Funding For Bicycling: Virtual Lobby Day This Thursday

Read on for information on how you can be part of our virtual lobby day!

This week is the National Bike Summit in Washington, DC. MassBike is leading the largest-ever group of Massachusetts advocates on a mission to protect funding for bicycling in MA from the federal budget-cutting frenzy. Federal dollars pay for a wide range of things you care about: roads with bike lanes, rail trails, Safe Routes to School, and more!

This year, we're encouraging everyone in our group to tweet updates from Tuesday to Thursday throughout the Summit, using the hash tag #nbsma.

On Thursday, March 10th, while we are visiting Congress in person, we need you to call your own U.S. Representative and both Senators and ask them continue to support federal funding for bicycling. When you call, you can use these talking points:

  • Funding For Bicycling And Walking Is At Risk We are concerned there will be efforts to strip federal funding for biking and walking in Congress either by eliminating the funding for programs such as Transportation Enhancements or Safe Routes to School, or by making funding these programs optional for states.

  • We Already Underinvest In Biking And Walking Just 1.5 percent of federal transportation dollars currently support bicycling and walking, although these two modes represent 12 percent of all trips in the United States. Bicycling and walking are growing in significance to our transportation system and yet only a tiny fraction of transportation funding is allocated to these essential and affordable modes.

  • Bicyclists And Pedestrians Make Up A Disproportionate Number Of Roadway Fatalities 14 percent of roadway fatalities are bicyclists or pedestrians. Small investments in improving roadway safety not only make our roads safer for bicyclists and pedestrians but also make drivers feel more comfortable and reduce conflicts among all road users.

  • Biking And Walking Are Great Investments Bicycling and walking improvements are relatively inexpensive, highly cost-effective investments that create significantly more jobs per dollar than road repair and upgrades; they also boost local small businesses and increase real estate values.

  • Biking And Walking Help Solve Many Problems In these tough economic times, we must invest in solutions that solve multiple problems: biking and walking are low-cost transportation options that improve safety, health and air quality; they reduce dependence on foreign oil.

Here are the phone numbers for all the U.S. Representatives for Massachusetts:

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

Don't know who your U.S. Representative is? Click here and enter your address to find out.

And our two U.S. Senators:

Senator Name Office Number
Senator Kerry, John 202-224-2742
Senator Brown, Scott 202-224-4543

Please don't forget to call on Thursday, March 10th, to be part of MassBike's National Bike Summit Virtual Lobby Day. And then leave a comment here to let us know you called!

Cyclocross Star Tim Johnson Rides To Support Bicycling Advocacy!

MassBike is heading down to Washington, DC next week to lobby Congress for funding for bicycling at the National Bike Summit, but six-time national champion and cyclocross superstar (and Massachusetts bicyclist) Tim Johnson is riding his bike all the way there - and raising money for bicycling advocacy while he's at it! Read the details about the ride and pledge your support here.

Tim has recognized that the racing community can do more to support the work advocates do to make bicycling safer and better for everyone. So he is kicking off his Ride On Washington with a party, fundraiser and raffle with some awesome prizes at Ride.Studio.Cafe in Lexington this Thursday night from 6:30-9:30pm. The ride supports Bikes Belong, which leads the charge for bicycling at the national level, but word has it that Tim and others will pledge their support to MassBike too for the work we're doing here at home!

Destination Berkshires: Join The 5th Annual Mass BikePike Tour Now And Save

Tired of riding on your own or seeing the same roads every week? Join “The Friendliest Ride in the East” this summer – the Mass BikePike Tour! From August 11th to 14th, riders will explore the back roads of scenic (and challenging!) Western Massachusetts. Proceeds from the ride will benefit MassBike!

With a diverse group of riders and rides of differing lengths available, the Mass BikePike Tour is especially appropriate if your cycling companions ride at different speeds.

Daily rides are longer (40-75 miles) and shorter (20-45 miles) with a “head start” option to shave additional miles off the ride. Western Massachusetts is characterized by quiet, scenic roads and challenging hills. There are plenty of attractions en route if you enjoy combining tourism with a great ride.

The Mass BikePike Tour includes a hearty breakfast and dinner, luggage transport, hot showers, rest stops, SAG support, and camping. For an additional fee, you can camp in style using the “Comfy Campers” service.

Whatever your experience level, you will be welcomed onto the Mass BikePike Tour – to sign up or find out more, please visit www.massbikepike.org


Dates: Thursday, August 11th thru Sunday, August 14th.

The route: 2011’s ride features the rolling hills and picturesque towns of western Massachusetts, including Northampton, Stockbridge, Great Barrington, Williamstown, Lenox, Lee, North Adams, and Pittsfield.

How long? We offer two routes each day. The shorter route is between 25 and 45 miles and the longer route is between 45 and 70 miles. Riders who want to shorten their distance can use our optional Head Start drop-off service that allows you to start up to 20 miles into the route.

The food: We provide hearty breakfasts and dinners each day and strive to serve the best of what is local. The ride has rest stops and lists other options for lunch on your own.

Creature comforts: This is a camping tour including hot showers. We provide motel/B&B; suggestions as well as the very-popular “Comfy Campers” service.

Included: luggage transport, camping privileges, support vehicles, rest stops, excellent route marking, and a tour t-shirt.

Start/finish location: Tri-County Fairgrounds, Northampton, MA. Transportation from Boston to and from the start is available for a small fee.

Sign up early: The early-bird discount ends on February 28th, and the Mass BikePike Tour is limited to 125 riders!

Vulnerable Road Users Bill Filed!

MassBike's Vulnerable Road Users bill has been filed in the Massachusetts legislature! The bill is the centerpiece of our 2011 campaigns, so we are very excited about this first step. Many thanks to Rep. Sean Garballey for filing the bill, and to co-sponsors Rep. Kay Khan, Rep. Carl Sciortino, and Rep. Will Brownsberger.

When a bicyclist is hit by a car and killed or injured, we often see it referred to as "a tragic accident." While certainly tragic, these incidents should be investigated and treated as more than simply accidents. When a driver operates negligently or recklessly around bicyclists, that is a crime and we want to make sure law enforcement treats it that way.

This new bill will encourage motorists to exercise more caution when operating around vulnerable road users, such as bicyclists and pedestrians, by increasing penalties to those who injure or kill vulnerable road users. The bill, if passed, would raise the fines associated with harming or killing vulnerable road users; require a traffic safety class and community service to raise awareness of interactions between motorized vehicles and vulnerable users; and it will correct language that hampers the prosecution of motorists who negligently or recklessly cause injury or death to vulnerable road users. By providing law enforcement with additional tools to protect vulnerable road users, we will make the roads safer for everyone.

So what happens next? The bill was filed on January 21, 2011, and we've now got two years to try to get it passed and signed into law. (Click here to learn about the Massachusetts legislative process.) We will need your help to build support in the Legislature for this bill at each step of the process, so keep an eye out for Action Alerts and be ready to call or email your state representatives and senators. We're also planning public events to raise awareness of the danger motorists pose to bicyclists and pedestrians, to gain public and media support for the bill.

Getting a law passed in Massachusetts is not easy - the last one, our 2009 Bicyclist Safety Act, took eight years - but together we can get this done!

MassBike Grows In 2010!

At MassBike, our members mean a lot to us—they give us our political clout, fund our advocacy, and are some of the best bicyclists on our streets and paths. That's why we are excited to announce that the MassBike community grew by over 20% in 2010!

We made growing our organization a priority last year and the results have paid off. With more members, we'll be able to do more for bicycling across our state in 2011.

Member support allowed us to succeed in 2010. MassBike, along with LivableStreets Alliance and the Boston Cyclists Union, worked with the T to revamp their bus driver training to better ensure the safety of bicyclists. With our Building for Bicycling campaign, we have been working to make sure that bicycling infrastructure is a priority and bicycle-friendly decisions are made on precedent-setting projects. MassBike also helped to organize the first truly state-wide Bay State Bike Week, which encouraged both new and veteran bicyclists across Massachusetts. We officially launched both our Same Road, Same Rules campaign and our And I Ride campaign. And recently, we have renewed our efforts to educate police as to bicyclists' rights and bicycling safety. We did a lot more in 2010, so check out our history page to get the full story.

We plan to keep that momentum in 2011. As our organization grows, we'll be able to better represent bicyclists across our state. We're looking forward to continued growth and increased efforts to make Massachusetts the best state in the nation for bicycling.

Not a member, yet? Join today and become a part of the MassBike community!

Volunteer Bicyclists Needed For Cambridge Air Quality Study

Do you ride your bike along a regular route through Cambridge? Do you ride year-round?

The Cambridge Public Health Department, in collaboration with researchers at BU, MIT and Harvard are looking for a group of dedicated bicyclists to transport miniature air samplers as they travel on their usual routes across Cambridge. Samplers will measure air pollution along roadways and the data will be used to test the efficacy of the technique. You will be helping us understand the quality of our air and what a cyclist may be exposed to along our major streets and parkways!

For more details, please contact Mike Ginieres at 617-665-3848 or mginieres@challiance.org.

Craigie Drawbridge Bicycle Access Reminder

We posted about the Craigie Drawbridge closures back in November, but since the second round of project closures has begun, we wanted to leave a reminder.

The Craigie Drawbridge is a major route between Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville for bicyclists and motorists. No inbound (Boston-bound) motor vehicle traffic will be permitted from January-April 2011. Outbound (Cambridge- and Somerville-bound) travel lanes will remain open throughout the project. The good news is that two-way bicycle access will be maintained at all times, with a combination of shared travel lanes and shared sidewalk.

The outbound travel lanes will be marked as shared lanes so that motorists know to expect bicycles in the lane. Throughout the project, bicyclists may also share the sidewalks with pedestrians, but the sidewalks will be narrow (7 feet) and only one sidewalk will be open from January-April 2011 to serve two-way bicycle and pedestrian traffic. Bicyclists and pedestrians may be directed to cross from one side of the street to the other, but there will be a marked crosswalk with a crossing guard. As conditions dictate, bicyclists may be asked to walk their bikes across the temporary bridge.

Yes, this will be inconvenient, but MassDOT is trying hard to help by maintaining two-way access for bikes and pedestrians (but not for cars). If anyone encounters an unexpected problem or safety issue as the project progresses, please let us know so that we can work with MassDOT to address any issues.

MassBike Kicks Off New Police Training Campaign

MassBike has a long history of supporting police training to improve bicyclist safety. In fact, MassBike literally wrote the book on police training when it comes to bicycles, much of which is available on our website. Now the time has come to update our police training to reflect recent changes in the law and to better suit the current needs of law enforcement and bicyclists across our state.

The 2009 Bicyclist Safety Act included a police training requirement, and we are making consistent statewide implementation of this training one of our priority campaigns for 2011. We will be creating educational materials about bicycle-related laws, behavior by bicyclists and motorists, and issues that bicyclists face that officers should be aware of. We'll also work with state and local law enforcement to develop effective ways of delivering this training to new recruits and in-service officers.

Our plans got a jumpstart recently when the City of Boston asked us to assist the Boston Police Department's efforts to educate its officers about the laws related to bicycling. We put together a brand-new law enforcement guide, which includes information about bicycling laws and bicyclists, laws about motorist interactions with bicyclists, explanations of common bike-related pavement markings and signage, and more. We're working in collaboration with the BPD to make this work-in-progress the most useful training and reference tool possible. We'll post the final product in our "publications" section.

We appreciate that the City reached out to MassBike for our expertise in bike law and education. It's a great way to begin our new police training campaign!

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