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News, Events, Updates
Tonight from 5pm – 8pm, join MassBike Executive Director Richard Fries for cocktails and conversation to benefit MassBike. Our gracious host, Ames Street Deli in Kendall Square, has whipped up a signature, summer cocktail, proceeds of which will go towards better bicycling in Massachusetts. Stop by and say hello on your way home, and relax with the MassBike staff on this lovely Monday.
Tags: massbike, summer social
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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
Executive Director, MassBike
Tags: massbike, new bill, safety
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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).
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Email (or cc) [email protected] to let us know who you contacted.
Tags: action alert, massbike
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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.
Tags: massbike, news
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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.
Tags: massbike, no, question 1
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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.
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.
Thank you again, and I’ll see you on the bike!
Tags: David Watson, massbike
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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.
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!”
Tags: Commuter Rail, massbike, west station
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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
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