The Latest From BostonBiker.org
News, Events, Updates
From Boston Magazine:
In late July, a Hubway cyclist traveling down Massachusetts Avenue in the South End was hit by a city-contracted trash truck as it went to make a right hand turn onto Columbus Avenue. The cyclist survived the accident, and it may have been due to just one detail: special safety guards that were installed on the sides of the vehicle as part of a pilot program launched by the city last year.
In 2013, through a collaboration between the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics and the Public Works Department, officials said they undertook the largest municipal pilot program of truck side guards in the nation, testing three different types of guards on 16 active vehicles driving the streets, including trash collection trucks.
Officials also worked with researchers from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Volpe Center in Kendall Square to sketch out the details for the proposed guard project, as well as City Councillor Ayanna Pressley, and members of the Boston Cyclists Union.
Tags: news, sideguards
Posted in infrastructure, news | No Comments »
While I am very sad to see David go, he did an excellent job at MassBike for many years, its great that he is moving on to other challenges.
Today our Executive Director, David Watson, announced that he will be leaving MassBike. David has been with us for more than eight years and in that time has used his passion for biking to help make Massachusetts safer for all cyclists.
Watson remembers biking in the streets of Massachusetts at the beginning of his tenure at MassBike. “Bike commuters were bravely riding along, but largely limited to the strongest and most fearless among us,” he wrote in his announcement (pdf). “There were precious few bike lanes in the state, and none at all in Boston. State transportation policies were just beginning to contemplate biking and walking, but that had not yet translated to change on the streets. Little or no funding was dedicated to bicycle infrastructure or education.”
Now, eight years later, much has improved. Massachusetts has installed more bike lanes and increased state funding for bike paths. More residents have an interest in biking for transportation and health. In a time when federal funding for biking and walking has been cut, Massachusetts has created a state policy to triple biking, walking, and transit, and is providing funding to make it happen. With David at the helm, MassBike has:
- Launched our Safe Routes to School Program in 2008, which has reached more than 11,000 kids
- Championed the Bicyclist Safety Bill, which became law in 2009
- Trained MBTA bus drivers since 2010 to better prepare drivers for interactions with bicyclists
- Successfully advocated for improved bike parking at transit stations and bike racks on all buses
- Expanded Bay State Bike Week in 2010 to a statewide celebration in partnership with MassDOT
- Introduced legislation in 2011 (and again in 2013) to protect Vulnerable Road Users
- Secured expanded bicycle hours on the MBTA Blue Line in 2011
- Published bike safety information in seven languages in 2012 (now 10 languages!)
- Launched the Bikeable Communities Program in 2012, which has helped more than 40 cities and towns improve bicycling conditions
- Created the annual Massachusetts Bike/Walk Summit in 2012
- Helped educate police officers in 2014 with our training video
- In 2014 successfully advocated for increased funding for bike paths, including more than $130 million in the MassDOT capital budget and $377 million in bonding authority
“A tireless advocate – and a tireless cyclist – David has been instrumental in seeing so many wins for safe biking in Massachusetts,” said Jim Bradley, President of MassBike’s Board of Directors. “We thank him for serving MassBike, bicyclists in Massachusetts, and the community so well these last eight years. We will remember his time at MassBike as one of action, commitment, and enthusiasm.”
The Board now begins a search for a new Executive Director. The right person will capitalize on the successes of Watson’s tenure to provide Massachusetts with a future of greater acceptance of and enthusiasm for bicycling.
“I am very proud of the team, the organization, and the partnerships we have built together over the past eight years,” Watson wrote of the MassBike board, staff, and community. “This has been the most challenging and the most rewarding job I have ever had, and I thank you for giving me the opportunity to do it.”
It also means that someone can step in to take the helm and move MassBike forward even more!
Yesterday we announced that David Watson is stepping down as the Executive Director of MassBike. Now we are starting the search for a new ED. If you or anyone you know is interested, read the job description here (pdf), and send an application to [email protected]!
Tags: David Watson, massbike
Posted in advocacy, news | 1 Comment »
The City of Boston took a big step forward for the country today as Mayor Marty Walsh presented an ordinance to the City Council that will make truck design far safer for pedestrians and bikes.
“We believe this is the first ordinance of it’s kind in the country,” wrote Mayor Walsh’s press secretary Kate Norton. “The ordinance requires side guards, convex mirrors, cross-over mirrors, and blind-spot awareness decals on all vehicles over 10,000 pounds awarded a city contract. There is a fine for those not in compliance — escalating from $100 for the first offense, to potential termination of the contract.”
The Bike Union began pushing for the ordinance through Councillor Ayanna Pressley’s office in the wake of Eoin McGrory’s tragic death in Charlestown in early April. (Please contribute to a charity fund in his memory.) At the same time, the city’s office of Urban Mechanics was talking to the city’s new mayor about the success of a pilot program that required sideguards first on the city’s public works truck fleet, and subsequently on all trash hauling trucks that contracted with the city. The results of the pilot were positive and all parties agreed that a move toward design requirements for all trucks contracting with the city was the best next step.
Today the Bike Union is also releasing a new“Sideguards Save Lives” fact sheet that illustrates the benefits side guards and blind spot mirrors. The fact sheet is that will give residents in other municipalities, the state, and the country a tool to push forward similar ordinances and legislation.
“The Bike Union knows who’s who and they set up a face to face meeting with Councillor Ayanna Pressley’s staff,” said Alex Epstein, one of the nation’s expert on truck safety design who works at USDOT at the Volpe Center in Cambridge, and also helped advise the Mayor’s staff. “I don’t think it would have been possible without that insider connection.”
Read more here. I can’t wait to see this passed into law. There is no reason such a simple and cost effective way to save lives is not mandatory.
Tags: cyclists safety, Law, mayor walsh
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From Bikes Not Bombs:
Bikes Not Bombs celebrated 30 years of using the bicycle as a vehicle for social change on July 4th! In the three decades since our founder Carl Kurz first brought two bikes to Nicaragua we are thrilled to have shipped56,981 bikes to partners in 14 countries. And, since our first Earn-A-Bike session in 1990 we have reached more than 3,500 youth through five sessions per year – including our girls-only version, Girls in Action. And all of our programs are taught and led by youth alumni who we offer meaningful, year-round employment through ourYouth Employment Pathways program and our youth organizing initiative, BOCA.
Our 30th anniversary not only provides us an opportunity to reflect on how far we’ve come, but also to look forward and plan for the future. This summer we are welcoming our largest number of youth instructors ever – together with our Earn-A-Bike participants we’ll have over 80 young people people filtering through the Hub each day! And Bikes Not Bombs not only strives to provide access to bikes and trainings, but also to transform communities — locally and globally. BNB youth are participating in an equity evaluation of the Boston Bike Plan in conjunction with the On The Move Coalition and our International Team are exploring new partnerships as our current partners grow and become more self-sufficient.
All of this work would be impossible without the caring community of volunteers and donors who have supported Bikes Not Bombs since 1984. Thank You! Stay tuned for details about our 30th anniversary party in early December!
Adult Instructor Training is a free 30-hour course taught by BNB Youth Employees that provides the foundation in basic bike mechanics, teaching methods, role modeling and leadership, and age and gender sensitivity that you need to successfully volunteer in BNB Youth Programs. In exchange for this free program, Adult Instructors are REQUIRED to volunteer a minimum of one program day per week from 3pm-7pm in at least one session of Earn-A-Bike or Girls In Action. Adult Instructor Trainings are held twice a year, in the Spring and Fall, and upcoming training dates are September 8th – 24th, Monday - Wednesday, 6-9PM.
Applications are available online and for more information, contact Ashley Leary at [email protected] or617-522-0222 x 101.
Village Bicycle Project brings bicycles to the most rural areas of Ghana and Sierra Leone and organizes village-based workshops at which people can purchase bicycles at subsidized costs and receive training in basic bicycle maintenance. VBP also provides opportunities for local mechanics to purchase subsidized bicycle tools and receive training in advanced bicycle mechanics – building the repair infrastructure to sustain the bikes long-term. By partnering with rural communities, Village Bicycle Project creates opportunities for increased mobility, leading toward social and economic development.
Please join us to help BNB load bikes to Village Bicycle Project, Ghana!
Time: Sunday, August 10th from 10am – 5pm. Drop in for an hour or stay all day.
Place: The BNB Warehouse on 10 Harvard Street in Dorchester
Details: Breakfast and lunch will be provided.
Since we’ve just reached our 30th anniversary, it is fitting to recognize a pair of volunteers who have a long history helping out at BNB, Jon Allen and Melanie Quigley! Jon writes: “I was pedaling a brand new Columbia 3-speed along Commonwealth Avenue in the summer of 1986 when a Ford Probe sped into me. The bike was totaled, but I felt that some parts might be worth donating to this non-profit I’d just heard about that recycled bikes and parts. We went to the address on Amory Street and we were told of a container loading that weekend where our help would be appreciated. (At the old space the bikes came out of the basement and had to be walked half way around the block to get to the truck so there was a lot more walking and less lifting then), so Mel and I went, and have been returning quite regularly ever since.”
Jon and Mel have been to almost EVERY loading for overseas shipments since, so they’ve now attended more container loadings than anyone else in BNB’s history! When BNB had to move in 2006, Jon and Mel constructed and painted a lot of walls and structures, first at the Hub, then the shop, then the warehouse. And they’ve become key volunteers for Bike-A-Thon logistics each year as well. This year, for example, they were here repeatedly in the week leading up to the Bike-A-Thon to check all the parts for our big tents, measure and cut ropes, sort food for the different rest stops, and prepare the bike parking tags. They traveled to Newton to help chef Brian Sway prepare food. And on the day of the Bike-A-Thon they joined the setup crew doing tents, ropes, banners, and slides. Thank you Jon and Mel for 28 years of steadfast volunteering!
Save the date! Bikes Not Bombs’ fourth annual Building Momentum Breakfast will take place Wednesday, October 22nd at 8am at Space with a Soul, near Downtown Crossing. The Building Momentum Breakfast is designed to raise financial support for Bikes Not Bombs and spread the word about our innovative work using donated bicycles as a tool for self-empowerment and community transformation. Table Captains are critical to the success of this event.
Signing up as a Table Captain is a great way to increase your impact at Bikes Not Bombs. As a Table Captain you will be responsible for bringing nine people to the Building Momentum Breakfast – friends, family, and colleagues – who you think will connect with the mission and work of Bikes Not Bombs. The event will feature breakfast from our friends at Ula Cafe, inspiring stories from individuals who have been impacted by our work, a short video, and more. We’ll guide you through the process and provide you with all the information and materials you’ll need. While this is a fundraiser, there is no obligation for Table Captains or guests to donate at the event.
BNB will be holding an information session for anyone interested in becoming a Table Captain onMonday, July 21st from 6:30-7:30pm at the BNB Hub. Please RSVP to Erica Rotman, Director of Fundraising & Events, at [email protected], or contact her if you would like more information about becoming a Table Captain.
Read about last year’s Building Momentum Breakfast.
Wednesday July 16 6:00pm
Museum of African American History – 46 Joy Street Beacon Hill Boston
Interview | Audience Q&A | Reception | Booksigning
ADMISSION: General: $5; youth (13 – 17) and seniors (62+): $3
Don’t miss the Boston Globe’s Derrick Jackson, an avid cyclist, history buff, photographer, and award-winning Op-Ed columnist, as he interviews author Lorenz “Larry” Finison about his new book, “Boston’s Cycling Craze, 1880-1900: A Story of Race, Sport and Society.”
The author and the journalist will share how athletes and individuals of all backgrounds made Boston a hub of 19th-century bicycling. The story includes a woman of color, Kittie Knox, who challenged conformity due to self-styled outfits and insistence on riding a man’s bike; Mary Sargent Hopkins, a self-proclaimed expert on women’s cycling and publisher of The Wheelwoman; and Abbot Bassett, long affiliated with the League of American Wheelman and as a cycling advocate.
Finison’s book shows how these and other recreational and competitive bikers interacted on the road and in their cycling clubhouses, often constrained by issues of race, class, religion, and gender. Meet descendants of some of the early cyclists who will be in the audience. Bikes Not Bombs will co-host the program along with Discover Roxbury, Roxbury Bicycle Brigade, and UMass Press.
This July our Basic Repair and Maintenance Clinic will be on Wednesday the 16th from 8-9pm . Our Flat Fixing Clinic will be on Thursday July 24th from 8-9pm. As always there is no need to sign up, but please be punctual and show up by 8pm!
Women’s Bike Social
Join Boston Bikes on July 10th, 5:30 pm for a Boston Tasting Tour! The group will ride and eat their way through the South End and Back Bay before grabbing dessert in the North End.
Join the best Boston commuters at a commuting celebration! Free breakfast and coffee from Boloco at City Hall Plaza. Stop by the Bikes Not Bombs tent to say hi! Hosted by Boston Bikes July 18th 7-9am.
Boston Remembers Hiroshima: Moving from Violence to Unity
Boston Remembers Hiroshima: Join Mass Peace Action, Dorchester People for Peace and others including Bikes Not Bombs, in this event connecting neighborhoods of Boston to City Hall. First Church Boston, 66 Marlborough St, August 6, 3pm, procession through Common to City Hall Plaza. Taiko drumming, Japanese “Soran Bushi” dancers, singing, speakers, action.
Tags: bikes not bombs, turns 30!
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They say if you want to kill someone wait until they get onto a bicycle. In a tragic state of affairs a Suffolk grand jury has decided that running someone over with a truck and then leaving the scene caries with it no consequences, if that person is riding a bicycle.
A Suffolk County grand jury declined to press charges against a garbage truck driver who struck and killed a bicyclist on Sullivan Square in April, according to The Boston Globe.
Police had initially charged Ricky Prezioso, 41, with leaving the scene of a crash after he struck and killed Owen McGrory, 34, on April 3. At the time, Prezioso said he never felt the impact of the collision. Last week the grand jury declined to press the charge further. (via)
What the fuck…shouldn’t you at least be charged with poor driving, if what you say is true YOU DIDN’T NOTICE YOU RAN SOMEONE OVER!
This is the second time someone has run over a cyclist in broad daylight drove off and not gotten any charges, the same thing happened to a Dana McCoomb in Wesllesley.
The real reason I think these things happen is not that the police and prosecutors are not trying hard enough, its that most of the people on the jury drive cars. They all see themselves sitting accused of the same thing. They looked at their phone, or was not paying attention, but for the grace of luck they could be the one who ran someone over without noticing. So they let these people walk because they don’t think its a serious thing, they think it’s an “accident.”
It’s not an accident, its the same as shooting someone “by accident” you are in control of a deadly object, a huge powerful vehicle, and any lack of concentration on your part can and will result in the deaths of other people. Its just that guns by their design are killing machines so responsible people handle them with care. Cars are no less deadly, in fact they kill far more people than guns. (roughly 12,000 gun deaths in 2013, vs 30,000+ car deaths).
Prezioso should have been charged with something, you can not run someone down, and then leave the scene and not have broken SOME law. The members of this grand jury should all have to look Owen McGrory‘s family in the eye and explain to them why they felt no laws were broken. I assure you had McGory been driving a car and been killed by a guy in a truck that truck driver would have gotten charged with something.
For McGrory’s family, explanations are hard to come by.
“My mother — she doesn’t want to face it,” said John McGrory. “When I phone her, she keeps talking about the weather.”
John McGrory described his brother as popular both in Boston and his native Londonderry, Northern Ireland.
“He was such a likable, down-to-earth sort of lad,” said McGrory, who had visited his brother in November. Owen McGrory married his wife, Shannique, in December, and lived in Chelsea with Shannique and her son. He worked in construction and had been an avid bicyclist since childhood.
Shannique McGrory said in an e-mail that her husband was fun-loving and playful and cared deeply for her children.
“I am shocked and disappointed at the grand jury’s decision, but I believe that the truth of what happened that day will come out through the civil justice system,” she said.
“We believe that there is overwhelming evidence of gross negligence on the part of the truck driver in this case,” said Valerie Yarashus, a lawyer representing the McGrory family in the civil suit.
Prezioso and Capitol Waste Services did not respond to requests for comment.(via)
Tags: cyclist killed, failure of justice, murder, outrage
Posted in Bike Business, news | 6 Comments »
Last week, the League of American Bicyclists released their list of Bicycle Friendly Communities for 2014, and named Lexington as Bronze Level winner. Lexington joins Arlington, Boston, Cambridge, Newton, Northampton, and Somerville as a Massachusetts Bicycle Friendly Communities, and brings the commonwealth’s total to seven.
According to Lexington Patch:
The application process was coordinated by Bicycle Advisory Committee chair Peggy Enders, who worked with Town staff and bicycle advocates over the winter to assemble the data needed as part of the comprehensive assessment process required of applicants.
“The application process was essentially an exercise in benchmarking Lexington’s accomplishments in becoming a more bike friendly community,” Enders said. “There are a number of areas where the town has accomplished a great deal and other areas where there is room for improvement. It would be wonderful to receive a higher level designation in the future; the bronze level award is a great start that demonstrates Lexington’s growing commitment to bicycles and those who ride them.”
The League of American Bicyclists’ Bicycle Friendly Community award recognizes cities and towns that have taken steps to improve conditions for bicycle transportation, and incentivizes communities to continue improving through technical assistance.
Tags: awesome, bronze, Lexington
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In a sad story, an unitentified man who was probably a cyclist washed up on the beach last week. Authorities need our help trying to identify him. (thanks Marcie for the tip)
From the Suffolk District Attorney:
Authorities Seeking ID of Revere Beach Remains
BOSTON, May 5, 2014—State Police detectives assigned to Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley’s office are seeking the public’s help in identifying a man whose remains washed up on Revere Beach last week.
The conditions of the remains have thus far hindered investigators’ efforts to identify the man or determine his ethnicity, but forensic anthropologists consulted by the Suffolk County State Police Detective Unit have opined that he was an adult between 20 and 40 years old – and likely on the younger end of that range.
The jeans themselves were American Eagle brand blue jeans with a 30” waist, suggesting a slim build, cinched with a black, braided leather belt. Inside one of the pockets was the key to a Kryptonite bicycle lock. The key was not registered. He was also wearing boxer shorts bearing an image resembling a Volkswagen Bug with a surfboard on its rooftop.
A passerby spotted the remains in shallow water along the shoreline at about 11:30 on April 30 and contacted State Police, who, with Revere Police, are attempting to locate his family or friends. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has not yet determined the cause or manner of his death.
“Somewhere, there may be a mother, father, son, or daughter suffering the worst kind of uncertainty,” Conley said. “If we can identify this man, we can at least put an end to that waiting and worrying and allow them some closure. Even if members of the public don’t have specific information, they can share these details online and, perhaps, help us reach the loved ones who need to know.”
State Police detectives have already begun reviewing missing persons reports that may be of assistance and, through the Commonwealth Fusion Center, have notified law enforcement agencies across Massachusetts of their investigation. Members of the public who have specific information may call the Suffolk County State Police Detective Unit at 617-727-8817. Others without information but who wish to help are asked share the following link: http://wp.me/pKHdm-1Vk.
Tags: cyclist, death, mystery
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Training to become a Street Ambassador, May 7
Make change happen. Become a Street Ambassador this summer.
In 2012, our Street Ambassadors helped win huge interim improvements along the McGrath Corridor as part of our Remove McGrath Campaign. They even made national news while doing it!
In 2013, our Street Ambassadors helped win a safer and more livable Massachusetts Avenue Bridge as part of our Better Bridges Campaign.
In 2014, we want you to join our Street Ambassador team to:
-collect postcards in support of our Safer Streets Campaign
-help with tactical urbanism in Cambridge and Greater Four Corners
-represent LivableStreets at events throughout the summer
“Whenever I see a bunch of folks standing on a corner in bright orange shirts I know they are fighting the good fight and getting stuff done.” - 2012 Street Ambassador
Attend the training on May 7 at 5:45pm to become an Ambassador and help create safer and more livable streets in Boston.
|Next generation street design guide adopted by MassDOT
Major kudos to MassDOT for making Massachusetts the second state to officially endorse the National Association of City Transportation Official’s Urban Street Design Guide, considered the next generation manual for designing more livable streets. Yes to more innovation!
For years, advocates have hit a brick wall with government and their consultants: “The Green Book and MUTCD say you can’t do that.” Since 1914, the “Green Book” has controlled street design, such as how wide car lanes should be (and no separated bike lanes allowed). And since 1971, the Manual on Urban Traffic Control Devices has controlled the use of traffic signals, signage, and striping, providing barriers to good bicycle and pedestrian design (e.g., no bike signals, no leading pedestrian walk time). Mass. Transportation Secretary Rich Davey says the NACTO guide provides “essential design principles for safe, multi-modal urban streets and attractive public spaces that embody our sustainability mission.” You know change is in the air when the Federal Highway Association urges all transportation engineers to use the new guide. With Ned Codd as the new director of MassDOT’s GreenDOT transportat
In recent StreetLife newsletters, we shared news that major city centers across Europe, from Brussels to Madrid, are hoping to go car-free to reduce air pollution and traffic, and to create space to enjoy other activities.
The news continues about cities flirting with these ideas, but there is a catch. A recent article in The Atlantic Cities notes that even though places such as Boulder, CO and Portland, OR are known for walking and biking, they are still not seeing any significant mode shifts despite huge investments in these activities.
The cause? “The crucial component that’s missing is that we’re not implementing any policies that disincentivize driving,” says Daniel Piatkowski. The article suggests, “We could reduce parking availability or raise parking rates. We could implement congestion pricing. We could roll back subsidies for gas and highways and public parking garages. We could tie auto-insurance rates or infrastructure taxes to how much people actually drive.” Read on.
This is a really important point. Fitch Ratings, the third-largest credit rating agency in the US, discusses it in their March 12 press release, urging policymakers to plan for changing travel demands. Fitch Ratings highlights U.S. Census Bureau data revealing record transit use and multi-family home construction across the country. “In our view, the transportation needs of the next 50 years will be markedly different from those of the past 50 years. U.S. policymakers must begin adapting their current decisions to these future needs.” Read on.
One neighboring city that is exploring policies to discourage driving and plan for the future is New York City. On March 20, The Atlantic Cities published an article describing how NYC is toying with one policy idea to limit congestion and increase transportation options. The idea is called “fair tolling:” a plan to charge drivers fees that will go to funding public transit, led by group Move NY. Read on.
Questions for you: Where are the places that you choose not to drive to because of limited parking or high cost, and instead choose another way of getting there?
Tags: livable streets, update
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