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MassBike Gets Substantial Sponsors For Its New Bill

Written by Boston Biker on Mar 10

From MassBike:

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State House and Common, in the Snow Copyright Leslie Jones, provided by Boston Public Library under Creative Commons License

The Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition (“MassBike”) is deeply appreciative of each of the state legislators that sponsored bills to make our roadways safer and more convenient for bicyclists. As the newly appointed executive director of MassBike I want to acknowledge and thank them for showing the political courage to support cycling and cyclists in Massachusetts. Please join me in thanking your senators and representatives for sponsoring these important bills. You can find out how here, or look for your districts below.

Apparently things are changing for the better for bicycling here in the world’s largest college town, Massachusetts. Working with our former executive director and current government affairs advisor, David Watson, we filed two bills for the new legislative session on Beacon Hill. The first was a Bike Lane Protection Bill, which makes it illegal for motorists to block established bike lanes. Every cyclist has experienced frustration with those hard-won bike lanes being used for everything from deliveries to taxi lines to double-parking spaces.

The second piece of legislation is a Vulnerable Road Users Bill, which brings together pedestrians, cyclists, road workers, tow truck operators, police officers, and emergency personnel as vulnerable road users and defines what is a safe-passing distance. This is landmark legislation that makes our entire state safer.

We had 42 lawmakers sign on as sponsors or co-sponsors for each of these bills. This represents 25 percent of the State Senate and 21 percent of the State House. This support will not go unnoticed. For too long, bicyclists have been simply tolerated by the transportation system. This legislation, if passed, will show that the Bay State – which has so much to gain by integrating pedestrians and cyclists into its streetscape – is not looking to just tolerate bicyclists but also to welcome and protect them as an important part of the transportation grid.

These lawmakers recognize that for the Bay State to be a leader in transportation, the bicycle is an important part of the streetscape, roadways, and transportation grid.

In the Senate

Sponsoring Both Bills
Michael Barrett, Third Middlesex
William Brownsberger, Second Suffolk and Middlesex
Sonia Chang-Diaz, Second Suffolk
Sal DiDomenico, Middlex and Suffolk
Kenneth Donnelly, Fourth Middlesex
James Eldridge, Middlesex and Worcester
Brian Joyce, Norfolk, Bristol, and Plymouth
Jason Lewis, Fifth Middlesex
Joan Lovely, Second Essex

Sponsoring Vulnerable Road Users Bill
Anne Gobi, Worcester, Hampden, Hampshire, and Middlesex

In the House

Sponsoring Both Bills
Ruth Balser, 12th Middlesex
Gailanne Cariddi, 1st Berkshire
Marjorie Decker, 25th Middlesex
Daniel Donahue, 16th Worcester
Shawn Dooley, 9th Norfolk
Carolyn Dykema, 8th Middlesex
Sean Garballey, 23rd Middlesex
Kenneth Gordon, 21st Middlesex
Jonathan Hecht, 29th Middlesex
Kay Khan, 11th Middlesex
Peter Kocot, 1st Hampshire
Jay Livingstone, 8th Suffolk
Timothy Madden, Barnstable, Dukes, and Nantucket
Elizabeth Poirier, 14th Bristol
Denise Provost, 27th Middlesex
Angelo Puppolo, 12th Hampden
David Rogers, 24th Middlesex
Jeffrey Roy, 10th Norfolk
Paul Schmid, 8th Bristol
Frank Smizik, 15th Norfolk
Aaron Vega, 5th Hampden
John Velis, 4th Hampden
Chris Walsh, 6th Middlesex

Sponsoring Vulnerable Road Users Bill
Daniel Cullinane, 12th Suffolk
Josh Cutler, 6th Plymouth
Carole Fiola, 6th Bristol
Leonard Mirra, 2nd Essex

Sponsoring Bike Lane Bill
Christine Barber, 34th Middlesex
Danielle Gregoire, 4th Middlesex
Bradford Hill, 4th Essex
Michael Moran, 18th Suffolk
Paul Tucker, 7th Essex

Yours Truly,

Richard Fries
Executive Director, MassBike


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Action Alert: Help MassBike With The Bike Safety Bill

Written by Boston Biker on Jan 23

From 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 the “Act To Protect Bicyclists In Bicycle Lanes.”

The Vulnerable Road Users Bill(SD273 in the Senate and HD2137 in the House) defines “vulnerable users” to include pedestrians, bicyclists, wheelchair users, motorcyclists, road workers, emergency responders, horseback riders, and others who are at greater risk on our roads. Beyond giving vulnerable users legal status, the bill sets minimum safe distances for passing vulnerable users, starting at three feet and increasing with speed. Read the full text here (pdf).

The Bike Lane Protection Bill (SD284 in the Senate and HD2130 in the House) addresses a common problem: It makes it a ticketable violation statewide for a motorist to park or stand in a marked bicycle lane or other on-street bicycle facility. When a motorist parks or stands in a bike lane, it endangers bicyclists by causing them to merge into traffic or squeeze between the parked vehicle and the curb or other parked cars. Read the full text here (pdf).

Read more about these bills on our website and in our fact sheet (pdf).

Thanks to Senator Will Brownsberger and Representative Dave Rogers, the bills have been filed in both the House and the Senate to get maximum exposure on Beacon Hill. We are actively seeking co-sponsors for these bills, and the deadline is rapidly approaching on January 30th! Having a lot of co-sponsors demonstrates strong support for a bill, and can help it move forward. That’s where all of you come in.

How You Can Help

  1. Get contact information for your state legislators here. Enter your home address, then click on the name of your State Senator and State Representative to get their email address or phone number.
  1. Email or call your State Senator, and ask her or him to support protecting pedestrians, bicyclists, and other vulnerable road users by co-sponsoring SD273 and SD284. Tell them to email [email protected] to sign on.
  1. Email or call your State Representative, and ask her or him to support protecting pedestrians, bicyclists, and other vulnerable road users by co-sponsoring HD2130 and HD2137. Tell them to email[email protected] to sign on.
  1. Email (or cc) [email protected] to let us know who you contacted.

If you have any questions, email [email protected] or call 617-542-2453. Thanks so much for your help. You are our political power – we cannot do it without you!


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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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Vote NO On Question 1!

Written by Boston Biker on Nov 03

With the election only a day away, we are reaching out today to remind you why we urge a NO vote on Question 1.

 

Photo courtesy of LivableStreets Alliance

Question 1 is bad news for cyclists and pedestrians. Safe biking and walking require good planning and investments, and Massachusetts has a long way to go to design and build streets, bikeways, trails, and walkways that are safe for everyone. Question 1, which eliminates the gas tax indexing law, puts $1 billion in transportation investments in jeopardy.

 

After years of neglect, roads and bridges in Massachusetts are now a major public safety crisis. This is something we can no longer ignore. Passage of Question 1 would mean our roads and bridges will continue to deteriorate, threatening the safety of Massachusetts cyclists and all residents.

For all of these reasons, MassBike urges you to vote NO on Question 1.

Say NO to sacrificing new infrastructure.

  • Question 1 threatens to cut $1 billion in transportation investments over the next decade.
  • Question 1 would reduce or eliminate new walking and biking paths.
  • Question 1 would reduce or eliminate road / bridge projects with new bike facilities.

Say NO to unsafe bridges.

  • 53% of all bridges in the state are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.
  • The ten busiest structurally deficient bridges in the state carry more than 1 million cars every day.

Say NO to traffic fatalities.

  • Massachusetts roads are unsafe for too many cyclists.
  • Roadways conditions are a significant factor in one-third of all traffic fatalities in Massachusetts.
  • Motor vehicle crashes cost Massachusetts $6.3 billion a year in medical and other costs.

Say NO to cutting public transit improvements.

  • Indexing the gas tax helps to improve our public transit system.
  • Question 1 risks investments in aging subways, rail, and buses.
  • Question 1 risks improvements in the MBTA and Regional Transit Authorities.

Say NO to risking environmental benefits.

  • Question 1 will hurt our ability to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Question 1 will limit our ability to invest in low- and non-polluting transportation projects such as biking, walking, and public transit.

Say NO to Question 1. If you are eager to help stop Question 1, please spread the word. You can forward this email, tell your followers on Twitter, or share on Facebook. There’s only one day left to let your friends know that you will be voting NO on Question 1.

Click here to read the full ballot question.


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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.

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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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New Commuter Rail Stop: West Station

Written by Boston Biker on Oct 14

Public transportation and bicycles go together like peanut butter and chocolate.  New stations help everyone ditch single occupancy car rides in favor of better more sustainable travel.

From MassBike:

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Governor Deval Patrick, MassDOT Secretary Richard Davey, and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced that West Station construction will be part of the Allston I-90 Interchange Improvement Project. This new Commuter Rail station in Allston will be partially funded by Harvard, which owns the surrounding land.

Also at the announcement were Senator William Brownsberger, sponsor of the recent bicycle-friendly Act to Protect Vulnerable Road Users and Act to Protect Bicyclists in Bicycle Lanes, and Representative Kevin Honan. Both spoke about the planned West Station.

If you’ve been following (and supporting!) the People’s Pike campaign, you’ll know that construction of this new Commuter Rail station was a topic of concern that many local groups, including MassBike, cited in the letter to Patricia Leavenworth of MassDOT.

MassBike’s David Watson, who attended the announcement, called the plan to build West Station an “important step forward for this project and the neighborhood.” Of course there is more work to be done. “Now,” Watson added, “we just need to ensure that the bicyclist and pedestrian aspects of the project will be top notch!”

 


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David Watson Steps Down As Executive Director Of MassBike

Written by Boston Biker on Sep 10

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.

From MassBike:

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.

David1Watson 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!

 

From MassBike:

bikes1000Yesterday 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]!

 


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MassBike Update

Written by Boston Biker on Aug 27

From MassBike:

 

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Photo courtesy of Mass in Motion

Big news this week when the Healthy Transportation Compact (HTC) met in Boston. At the meeting, MassDOT announced an initial investment of up to $5 million for the critical Complete Streets Certification Program. The program provides competitive funds to cities and towns to create streets that are safe and welcoming for all users. Led by MPHA and MAPC, MassBike and other advocates succeeded in incorporating the program and its funding into the Transportation Bond Bill passed in April. But MassDOT still had to budget the money, and now they have – thank you MassDOT! 

The HTC was created by the 2009 transportation reform law and requires the Secretaries of Transportation, Health and Human Services, and Energy and Environment (and the agencies under their supervision) to work together to get more people walking and biking in Massachusetts. Last year, the HTC added the Secretary of Housing and Economic Development, recognizing the link between land use decisions and healthy transportation options. 

MassBike’s Jimmy Pereira at the DSNI Playway

 

Imagine what it would be like to have a street dedicated to bicycling and walking. This street is not a shared bike lane. It is a neighborhood block with houses and open spaces for play and community engagement.

What you are picturing is a playway. Playways are temporary street closures in a residential neighborhood that get community members, especially kids, active. Playways utilize street spaces for people rather than cars. They can be done in many places, from dense urban areas to suburban and rural towns.

Although playways might sound like just another simple, fun event, they have a serious purpose. They create opportunities for activities and exercise, rally communities around open spaces, and connect neighborhoods. Playways allow children to be creative with play. Of course we especially love playways because they promote bicycling to all generations. In addition, by virtue of their simplicity, playways are sustainable in a way that other neighborhood events, such as carnivals, are not. 

Read the full article

 
What does it mean to be a MassBike member?

 It means you have joined us at any one of our membership levels to support our programs, such as our Bikeable Communities Program that works with local advocates to improve bicycling conditions in their cities, towns, and neighborhoods. It also means that you can bring your MassBike member card to many local businesses and bike shops throughout the state for a discount.

Join today to support this important work and get access to an exciting array of membership benefits statewide.

 

Organizers of the 9th Annual Boston Bike Film Festival have asked filmmakers with a cycling habit to submit their work to be shown October 24, 2014, at the historic Regent Theatre in Arlington. Film submissions are due September 1, 2014. The event is a fundraiser for state-wide and national cycling advocacy groups, including MassBike and Bikes Not Bombs. Film concepts from last year’s festival ranged from a young man attempting re-learn to ride, to an animated film about a cute bike that moves in next door, a couple of international documentaries, and everything in between. Among the benefits for acclaimed and amateur filmmakers, the Festival offers a chance to get their films in front of audiences who are intrigued and influential to the quality of cycling nationwide. So Come Pedal Your Film! And see the next generation of cycling films!

 Contact The Boston Bike Film Festival or visit them online.

A restful stop along the route.

On August 7-10 we rode the 8th Annual Mass BikePike Tour, and as usual it was a lot of fun. We started in Shirley, MA and went through many picturesque towns. Every day seemed to reveal landscape and scenery more beautiful than the last.

Each year we especially enjoy the feeling of community we get from spending time with so many dedicated cyclists during the tour. We see familiar faces along with fresh ones. We greet old friends and meet new bicycling enthusiasts and advocates.

Read the full article


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The Word On The Street

  • RSS Here is what people are saying

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