MassBike Introduces Multilingual Bicycle Safety Guides
Recently at this years Moving Together bicycle and pedestrian conference in Boston, the Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition (MassBike) introduced new versions of its most popular educational publications in seven languages: English, Spanish, French, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Russian, and Haitian-Creole. Arabic and Portuguese versions will follow shortly. The new materials are:
- “Go By Bike: A Guide to Bicycling in Massachusetts”, filled with valuable information on how to ride safely and legally in traffic;
- “Go By Bike: A Parent’s Guide to Bike Safety”, helping parents teach their young riders the basics of safe biking; and
- “Same Roads, Same Rules” spoke cards, with key tips for bicyclists and motorists to interact more safely.
This marks the first time bicycle safety educational materials have been available in Massachusetts in such a wide range of languages.
Raising A New Generation Of Safe Bicyclists In Revere
Revere has long been known for its beach (the oldest public beach in the country), but we expect that it will soon be known for the incredibly good bicyclists that populate its streets. Starting this past Monday and running through next Wednesday, MassBike is teaching all the 4th and 5th grade students at Whelan Elementary basic bike safety, including the rules of the road, proper helmet use, and how to stay visible after dark. By the end of next week, we will have reached almost 300 students.
This is coming none too soon. Thanks to our efforts supporting expanded bike access on the Blue Line, it’s easier than ever to get into Boston with your bike from the North Shore. Furthermore, Bike to the Sea is making steady progress pushing the Northern Strand Community Trail closer to completion, which will be a major destination on the North Shore for bicyclists of all ages. And with childhood obesity on the rise, getting our kids active is rising to the top of our priority list as a state and nation.
This work complements other efforts being undertaken in Revere and in communities around the state to increase trips made by bicycle. While these classes are supported through our partnership with MassRIDES and WalkBoston’s Safe Routes to School Program in Revere, we are looking forward to continued work expanding bicycling opportunities in Revere through our work with Mass in Motion.
Even though we’re especially proud of the intensive education we’re undertaking in Revere, we also teach in other communities around the state. Just this fall we have been to Danvers and Canton, and are scheduled to teach classes in Framingham and Arlington. If you are interested in getting classes scheduled in a Middle School or Elementary School in your community, contact [email protected] or give us a call at (617) 542-2453.
Springfield Youth Studying Bikeability
Earlier in October, MassBike’s Program Associate and I (Price) went to Renaissance High School in Springfield to teach their Bike Club about our Bikeability Assessments.
We met with the faculty sponsor of the group and students to explain the concept of bikeability, and also took them out on an assessment test run. Moving forward, the plan is to undertake a student-driven assessment of streets near the school for submission to the City, focusing especially on Route 20A (a major street that runs by the school).
This is really exciting work, especially in Springfield – the fourth largest city in New England - which could see major transportation and economic benefits from being more bike-friendly. Right now, their main bicycle facility is the Connecticut River Walk and Bikeway, but that is mostly used for recreation. This stands in stark contrast to the northern tier of the Pioneer Valley, where Easthampton, Northampton, Hadley and Amherst are all linked via off-road trails and the streets tend to have more bicycle facilities.
We are fortunate to have the opportunity through Mass in Motion for the MassBike staff to be able to provide direct support to Springfield (and Holyoke) on improving their bike infrastructure. MassBike also has a chapter in the Pioneer Valley, which works on a variety of projects and other local initiatives. If you have any questions about other things going on in the Pioneer Valley, or would like to get more involved, email [email protected].
Light Up The Night!
With Daylight Savings Time behind us, its getting dark a lot earlier. This means it’s that time again – our annual “Light up the Night” blog post! Even though we put out a riding at night post every year, I don’t want you to think that this post is pro-forma. We write this annual post because being visible matters. A lot.
At the very least, use a front and rear light. Massachusetts law requires that you have a front light and rear reflector, but a rear light is even better. Usually lights come in pairs anyway. When picking out lights for your bike, it is 25% about seeing where you’re going and 75% about being seen by others on the road.
Advocates Improving Intersections In Hampshire County
Last weekend, a dozen volunteers braved the chilly New England Fall weather to work on making intersections in Northampton and Amherst better for bicyclists. Through a partnership with the Hampshire Council of Governments, and thanks to our partnership with Mass in Motion, we were able to come out and train local bicyclists how to use the assessment form, what to think about when assessing the intersections, and the most important things to document. Then we set them loose!
Did you miss the assessment last weekend? Don’t worry! We are going to be doing a second round of intersection assessments this coming weekend to hit the spots we couldn’t get to. If you would like to help out, send an email to me at [email protected]. The times are listed at the bottom of the page. We’ll also be in Belchertown on Monday from 11 – 1, if you have time to help out.
The Pioneer Valley is fortunate to have a MassBike Chapter, whose members serve on numerous local and regional advisory boards. They also have on-the-ground knowledge about the bicyclist experience, and important community connections to round up volunteers for activities just like this. Since June, we have taught both of our Bikeable Communities Trainings, taught Springfield youth on how to do Bikeability Assessments, and begun assisting Holyoke in expanding their bicycle infrastructure.
If you would like to help out this weekend, please do! And bring friends – the more boots (or tires) on the ground, the more intersections we can assess.
Saturday, November 10th
Meet at the Forbes Library
Sunday, November 11th
Meet at the Jones Library
Monday, November 12th
Meet at the Clapp Memorial Library
Find Member Benefits Near You On This Cool Map!
Did you know that in addition to making Massachusetts better for biking, MassBike members also get discounts at businesses across the state? We are excited to announce that our member benefits program has been updated with even more exciting discounts for our members!
To help organize all the discounts we offer, we have developed an interactive map of MassBike member benefits statewide. Look around and see if there is a bike shop or coffee place near you that offers a discount. You’re already saving a chunk of change if you go by bike – why not save a little more for being a MassBike member? You can also check out this link to view the list of new member benefits (and access the interactive map).
Along with all the new discounts, these businesses are now also featured in a new iPhone app called GreenStack. This app allows you to combine (or stack) your member discounts to get the maximum discount at your favorite local businesses.
We are always looking for new member benefits; if you have a business interested in offering our members a discount, contact [email protected].