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MassBike Announces A New Executive Director

Written by Boston Biker on Jan 06

I look forward to seeing what the new executive director of MassBike has to offer.

 

From the press release:

Experienced Promoter, Announcer, and Journalist Will Lead Statewide Advocacy Group As Bicycling is Growing in Popularity.

BOSTON (Jan. 6, 2015) – After an extensive search and interview process the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition (MassBike) has named Richard Fries to serve as its new executive director. His appointment comes as new investments in infrastructure and education have encouraged more people than ever to explore bicycling as a safe, healthy, accessible transportation option.

“I’ve never been so excited about a professional opportunity before. From its compact urban centers and world-class transit system to its beautiful countryside, Massachusetts has all the ingredients we need to build a truly first-rate bicycle culture,” said Fries. “Whether you’re starting a new bike business, riding for the first time, or logging your thousandth mile, we can all work together to build a state where everyone has access to a safe, smooth ride.”

Fries’ experience in the bicycling community is both broad and deep. For the past eight years he has served as the marketing director and later the cycling experience director for Best Buddies International, where he helped promote as many as four charity cycling events per year. He has also served as a development advisor for People for Bikes, where he helped launch Tim Johnson’s Ride on Washington, and he spent two years as the director of the Bicycle Leadership Conference.

“Richard comes to MassBike with the perfect blend of advocacy, leadership, and industry experience that, combined with his passion for cycling, will help us continue to make bicycling better in every corner of the state,” said Jim Bradley, President of MassBike’s Board of Directors.

Fries is co-founder of the Providence Cyclo-cross Festival, which has grown to become the largest cyclo-cross event in America and one of New England’s largest cycling events. Fries will stay on as director of that event, now known as the KMC Cyclo-cross Festival.

Having raced at the pro level both in America and Europe, Fries left racing to become a journalist. He co-founded The Ride Magazine, a regional cycling publication that focused on all facets of bike culture in the Northeast. He also developed a reputation as both a live announcer and a television commentator. Fries has called countless national championships and several UCI World Cups and the UCI World Championships in both road and cyclo-cross. He has been an event consultant for the past five years.

Fries will join MassBike on January 15 and succeeds David Watson who held the post for eight years. “I am honored to be joining MassBike at such a critical time, and that excitement only grew when I dug into the details of how well David Watson ran this organization,” said Fries. “I could not have received a better lead-out. This board, this staff, this membership, and many of our strategic partners have set Massachusetts up to become the gold standard for bicycling in the United States. ”

A native of Pittsburgh, Fries received a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of South Florida, and a masters degree in journalism from Northeastern University. A passionate bicycle commuter, Fries lives alongside the Minuteman Commuter Bikeway in Lexington, Mass. He and his wife, Deborah, have three children.

Read a Q&A interview with Richard Fries about his appointment.

 


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Cambridge To Follow Boston’s Lead On Side Guards For Trucks

Written by Boston Biker on Nov 14

I have talked about this a couple of times (here and here and here), and its great to see Cambridge moving forward with this simple and awesome plan.

 Via

On Monday, November 10, the City of Cambridge took a major step towards making transportation safer for bikers as well as pedestrians. The Cambridge City Council voted unanimously in favor of a motion put forth by Councilor Dennis Carlone to take the next step in considering outfitting city vehicles with side guards.

The side guards act as a protective measure in the instance of a collision between a cyclist and the truck and keep the cyclist from being pulled beneath the vehicle.

According to Councilor Carlone’s City Council Blog, “City Manager Richard C. Rossi is requested ‘to work with all relevant City Staff, safety experts, and bicycle and pedestrian advocates to consider the possibility of deploying truck side guards across all city-owned and city-leased trucks.'”

Councilor Carlone introduced the legislation back in September after a cyclist was struck by a garbage truck. Luckily the injuries were non-life threatening but that was enough to inspire the councilor to act preemptively.

At the end of October, Boston became the first city in the nation to adopt such a measure. The Boston City Council also voted unanimously to approve an ordinance filed by Mayor Marty Walsh, along with At-Large Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley and the Boston Cyclists Union, to equip all large city-contracted vehicles with safety side guards.


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Somerville Most Popular City In The Northeast For Cycling

Written by Boston Biker on Nov 11

A contest where cities compete to be the most friendly is one in which we all win.  And Somerville has edged out “traditional” bike friendly Cambridge for the top spot this year.

 

Somerville is the top bike commuting city in the Northeast, according to an annual report from the League of American Bicyclists.

Somerville beat out its neighbor, Cambridge, and New Haven, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh to capture the title. The study ranked cities by calculating the percentage of commuters who ride bikes, using 2012 American Community Survey data from the US Census Bureau.
In Somerville, 7.77 percent of commuters regularly ride bikes. Right behind them, in Cambridge about 6.49 percent of commuters travel regularly by bike.

Somerville Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone said he was excited, but not surprised, by the ranking: The city has invested in bike lanes and infrastructure for years. “This is not by accident,” he said.

Hayes Morrison, Somerville’s director of transportation and infrastructure, said there’s even more on the horizon for cyclists in Somerville. Adding to the city’s 14 miles of bike lanes, 6 miles of bike paths, and 25 miles of shared roads marked for bicycle travel, the city will soon break ground on its first cycle track — a protected bike lane.

Cambridge is also gearing up to further improve biking in the city.

“Every time we redo a street, we try to make it better for walking and biking,” said Cara Seiderman, the city’s transportation program manager. (via)

Awesome! I saw that they are putting in more bike lanes on Broadway and narrowing the street with a center divider and curb extensions. All in all a great idea to turn that nasty highway like section of Broadway into a livable walk-able community. Once they get that overpass tore down in union and put in the new green line station Somerville will be THE place to ride your bike.


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Drunk Driving Murderer Only Gets 18 Months In Jail

Written by Boston Biker on Nov 06

Drunk driving murderer Michael Ahern of Dorchester was sentenced to 18 months in jail for killing bicyclist Doan Bui.

It was a miracle that he was even found guilty in the first place, as most of the time when people use their car to murder people they get away with it,  but this sentencing is insultingly short.

From UHUB:

Prosecutors had asked for six to eight years in a state prison, because evidence showed that not only was Ahern going 20 mph above the speed limit, he had spent a good part of the evening before the crash drinking – in part at a bar he co-owned – and had a lengthy record of driving infractions that included 12 license suspensions.

Judge Christopher Muse sentenced Ahern to 2 1/2 years in a county jail, but with 12 months suspended for six years, during which Ahern must undergo an alcoholism screen, take any treatment that is recommended by that, perform 500 hours of community service and not drive.

In a statement, DA Dan Conley said:

Doan Bui did nothing wrong but ride his bike along the same route this defendant used after drinking all night. As a result of this defendant’s choices to drink and drive, the Bui family lost a father, a husband, and a source of emotional and financial support.

I would really like to know why the judge felt it was alright to take the recommended sentencing and reduce it so drastically.  Drunk driving is a crime, cycling is not, murder is a crime, cycling is not.  For justice to be served this person needs to never drive again, and spend a good period of their life deprived of liberty.

But that is just how I feel about it.  Amazingly, and in a sign that perhaps humanity is not doomed, the family of the murder victim, actually urged the judge to be merciful on the murderer.

From The Boston Globe:

Accompanied by a Vietnamese language interpreter, Bui’s wife was silent in the courtroom as her lawyer told the judge that she and her children knew a long prison sentence for Ahern would not bring back her husband and their father.

Thuy Huynh, the victim’s wife, had asked for her lawyer, Andrew Barrett, to speak on her behalf.

“She doesn’t think any more damage should be done to anyone else,” Barrett said. “She has expressed, for the lack of a better word, forgiveness, and doesn’t see any advantage to any lengthy sentencing imposed on the defendant.”

Suffolk County Superior Court Judge Christopher J. Muse also heard statements from the victim’s 14-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son that were read by the assistant district attorney.

“If I had a wish, I hope my dad would belong with us and drunks do not drive any more in order to not injure anyone else,” wrote Thao Bui, the victim’s daughter.

She and her brother, Diamond Bui, wrote that after their father’s death, they do not want to leave the house. They also described a hardworking father who took care of his family.

His daughter wrote that Bui had often helped his wife study English and practice driving. His son said they would explore the outdoors together during the summer.

“We and my mom miss him very much,” wrote Diamond Bui.

I hope Ahern never drives again, and spends the rest of his life soberly contemplating the carnage he has caused his fellow human beings.


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David Watson Leaves MassBike

Written by Boston Biker on Nov 03

I can personally attest to the many fine things David did over at Massbike, he will be sorely missed, but we all wish him the best in his new adventures.

—–

Dear MassBike Members and Friends

This is it – my last day as your Executive Director. I wanted to take a moment to thank you for making these last eight years so great for bicyclists in Massachusetts, and for me as your advocate. Together, we’ve made real progress for bicycling transportation, recreation, and fun!

I’m leaving this role, but I’m not going away. I will continue to work for you as a consultant promoting active living and transportation. I am pleased to say that MassBike is one of my first clients, so I will keep working on some of the projects that are so important to all of us.

One of the last things I will do today before I leave the office is to renew my own MassBike membership. Without this organization, Massachusetts would not have seen so many big wins for bicyclists in the last few years. I am proud to support MassBike in its efforts to make the Commonwealth an even better place to ride a bike.


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Mayor Menino Has Passed Away.

Written by Boston Biker on Oct 30

Thomas M. Menino, the longest-serving mayor in Boston’s history, has died. He served as mayor from 1993 until 2013.

The Boston Globe reports:

Thomas Michael Menino, who insisted a mayor doesn’t need a grand vision to lead, then went on to shepherd Boston’s economy and shape the skyline and the very identity of the city he loved through an unprecedented five consecutive terms in City Hall, died Thursday. He was 71 and was diagnosed with advanced cancer not long after leaving office at the beginning of this year.

“Visionaries don’t get things done,” he once said, crisply separating himself from politicians who gaze at distant horizons and imagine what might be. Leaving to others the lofty rhetoric of Boston as the Athens of America, he took a decidedly ground-level view of the city on a hill, earning himself a nickname for his intense focus on the nuts and bolts of everyday life: the urban mechanic. (via)

 

I met him on several occasions and every time he gave me a handshake with one of his massive hands.  He started it all here in Boston proclaiming that the “car is no longer king.”  And pushed for the first of many bike lanes to come.  He might not have thought of himself as a visionary, but he had the guts to buck the trend and pushed cycling to the forefront as a valid urban transportation method.  Mayor Menino was a good guy, and good friend to cyclists, he will be sorely missed.

I can only hope his final days were pleasant and spent with friends and family.


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Man Actually Convicted In Murder Of A Cyclist

Written by Boston Biker on Oct 17

Its a sad state of affairs when someone being found guilty of a crime they so obviously committed is big news.  But so few people who run over cyclists are ever found guilty.

In 2012, Doan Bui was struck and killed while riding his bike on Morrissey blvd.  Michael Ahern, 46, of Dorchester, was found guilty of felony motor vehicle homicide, and faces 1-15 years behind bars.  While I find it ridiculous that he might only get a year behind bars for murdering someone, it is good that in the most obvious of circumstances (he was drunk), justice can still be served.  Now if only we can get people convicted of this when they are not drunk, but say texting, we might see some progress.

From U-Hub:

Evidence also proved that State Police responding to Ahern’s 911 call detected a strong odor of alcohol on his breath, found him to be unsteady on his feet, and observed his eyes to be bloodshot and glassy. Troopers testified that he slurred his speech and claimed to be unaware that he had hit anyone. When asked if he had been drinking, he said he “may have had one” drink at the Slate Bar and Grill, in which he had an ownership interest.

Ahern, who has two arson convictions from 1989, faces between 1 and 15 years behind bars, along with a 15-year revocation of his license. He is scheduled for sentencing on Oct. 31.


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Driver With 48 Priors, Arrested On Friday, Gets Car Back On Saturday, Kills Cyclist Sunday

Written by Boston Biker on Oct 14

What the fuck.  Seriously what do you have to do to have your car licence taken from you in this country.  It is a sadly true saying, if you want to kill someone and get away with it, just wait until they get on a bicycle.

I hope this asshole rots in prison for the rest of his life, but sadly I doubt he will.

 

Police say Edward King could barely stay awake when officers found him stopped in the middle of the road in Weymouth on Friday night, his legs hanging out of the car and traffic backing up behind him.
He appeared “confused and off balance” and was carrying a two-day-old bottle of prescription drugs that was already half-empty, police said.
He was arrested and charged with drugged driving, but King was back behind the wheel Sunday when, according to police, he was involved in a crash in Braintree that sent a bicyclist to the hospital with serious injuries. That bicyclist, 53-year-old William Donovan of Braintree, died Tuesday.
King, a 41-year-old Braintree resident, was arraigned Monday on two counts of driving under the influence of drugs and one count each of negligent driving, violating marked lanes and failing to yield to a bicycle. Those charges stem from both the Weymouth and Braintree arrests.
David Traub, spokesman for the Norfolk County District Attorney’s office, said police are investigating and could seek additional charges following Donovan’s death.
Weymouth police arrested King shortly after midnight Friday. He was released about an hour later after posting the $40 bail set by a Quincy District Court bail commissioner. Police say they seized King’s car and asked the Registry of Motor Vehicles to revoke his license after his arrest early Saturday morning. But King was able to pick up the car after a 12-hour hold expired on Saturday afternoon and the Registry did not process the department’s request until Monday when it revoked his license indefinitely.

King also had a long history of crashes and run-ins with the law before last week, according to court documents. In setting his bail, Judge Mark Coven said King had at least five crashes since 1990 and a total of 48 convictions, including 36 that sent him behind bars. King’s driving record shows five surchargeable accidents since 1991. That list includes an accident in Braintree in March and in Dorchester in April.(more here)

Getting drunk or high and running someone over with your car is no different than getting drunk or high and shooting someone with a gun. They are both pieces of metal under your control, and they can both easily kill someone.

Fuck this guy, and fuck the system that lets someone like this continue to get back behind a wheel.


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The Word On The Street

  • RSS Here is what people are saying

    • Support Cycle Tracks On The Arborway Feb 2nd January 30, 2015
      TweetFrom the Boston Cyclist Union ——- Since 2011, the Bike Union has helped lead local residents and other orgs to reconnect the Emerald Necklace for bicycles. Over the past 4 years, the coalition has successfully promoted an at-grade solution for … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Snowtacular Open Thread January 26, 2015
      Tweet   What do you plan to do during the mega storm?  I am sorta tempted to try riding down the big hill near my house once everything is covered with a foot of snow and no one is on … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Winter Mega Storm Aught 15 To Close Hubway Stations January 26, 2015
      TweetIn case you couldn’t figure out from the apocalyptic messages emanating from every media device, its going to snow, a lot, Tuesday.  Stay inside, bust out the trainers, and sweat out some holiday calories while watching a movie, oh also … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Action Alert: Help MassBike With The Bike Safety Bill January 23, 2015
      TweetFrom MassBike:   This month marks the start of a new two-year session in the Massachusetts Legislature, and MassBike has filed two bills designed to protect bicyclists and other vulnerable road users: the “Act To Protect Vulnerable Road Users” and … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • PARKWAYS MOVING FORWARD: DCR is Not The Highway Department January 21, 2015
      It’s a pleasure to be able to praise a government agency: civil servants who try to live up to their public service mission are over-worked and underpaid relative to private sector peers – and always under appreciated! It’s particularly a pleasure to praise the Department of Conservation and Recreation’s (DCR), a woefully underfunded agency whose […]
      Steve Miller
    • Another Winter Rider! January 20, 2015
      Tweet Doug looking great in safety yellow!  Also is that a built in headlamp?! Still have two books left, get yours!
      Boston Biker
    • Another Winter Rider! January 20, 2015
      Tweet Doug looking great in safety yellow! Still have two books left, get yours!
      Boston Biker
    • Turning The Loss Of Cycling Ability Into A Gain January 19, 2015
      TweetLife starts with almost unlimited and unknown potential. A newborn is a mystery in that he or she might be anyone, might do anything and might even make a difference in the world we live in. But, the farther along … Continue reading →
      IsolateCyclist
    • The Fundamental Problem with Vehicular Cycling January 17, 2015
      TweetThe fundamental problem with the Vehicular Cycling (VC) approach to cyclist safety is it promotes mobility of the Strong & Fearless cyclist over the safety of all other cyclists. Doing so promotes their own self interest at the cost of … Continue reading →
      mattyciii
    • Mini-Contest Still On! January 16, 2015
      TweetI still have a handful of books to give away, send me a picture of you in your full winter riding gear and get free stuff!
      Boston Biker