Urgent: Eastern Downtown Protected Bike Lane vote on March 3rd.

The DC Council will vote on March 3rd emergency legislation to complete the 9th Street NW protected bike lane between Florida Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue. This project has been stalled for more than four years, and the District’s inaction has consequences. More than 60 people walking and biking have been hit by drivers on the 9th Street Corridor since the project was put on ice.

Emails take just a moment to send, and using our call tool will take you about five minutes.

Note: Our calling tool will only connect if you live in DC. If you live outside of the District but would like to add your voice, please call Council Chair Phil Mendelson’s office at (202) 724-8032. Make sure to explain why this project is important to you even though you don’t live in DC.

Background

In 2015, the District Department of Transportation began studying options for a protected bike lane to run north/south between Shaw and Chinatown to fill a substantial gap between 15th St NW and the Metropolitan Branch Trail. After an exhaustive, and heated, public process which included two public meetings, more than 2,500 comments and dozens of meetings with stakeholders in the corridor, DDOT identified 6th and 9th St. NW as the best candidates. And in the February 2017 final report, DDOT determined that more detailed design and analysis were needed before choosing a street to fully design and build.

Yet, since then we have been left in the dark on this project. The project page’s last update was in 2017. For two years, DDOT’s director has been unable to provide any updates or timeline to the DC Council when asked directly. And the Mayor has answered direct questions with only vague answers about making sure it is safe. While we wait more than 60 people walking and biking have been hit by drivers on 9th Street since February 2017.

Conte’s Bike Shop Adds Experienced Industry Professionals To Its D.C. Team

A messages from WABA Corporate Partner, Conte’s Bike Shop:

Conte’s Bike Shop® is pleased to announce that Nick Kwasigroch and Walker Wilkson have joined the Company as Assistant Store Manager at the Cathedral Heights store and as Service Manager at the Company’s Logan Circle store, respectively.

Walker has spent nearly ten years growing the service department at the former Bike Rack in Washington, DC. Walker’s love for bicycles started in the unlikeliest of cities: car-centric Houston. The journey to bicycle repair began when a flat left him afoot four miles from home (in the July heat!). Walker believes that bicycles are transformative in people’s lives. He is an experienced cyclist and logged his longest ride (Texas to Tennessee) on a hybrid, however his favorite local ride is the C&O Canal. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from the University of Houston and is an avid reader having finished 137 books in 2019. He and his wife have a toddler and live in the Brookland neighborhood of Washington, DC.

Nick relocated from Chicago to Washington, D.C. 13 years ago and has been an avid bicycle commuter since the mid ‘90s. He enjoyed a dedicated 11-year career as a member of Bike Rack’s management. Nick’s educational background is in graphic design, but having discovered that he is a born sales person, he has combined his eye for design and his love of cycling to create shop apparel, cycling kits and local race team kits. In joining Conte’s Bike Shop’s management team in the D.C. region, Nick described his goal: “I am looking forward to what I can bring to the Conte’s Bike Shop franchise in NOVA-DC, and in particular to my new colleagues at the Cathedral Heights store.”

“We are fortunate to have the opportunity to work with Walker and Nick, two known professionals in the D.C. cycling culture, and to have them as part of our management team illustrates our commitment to excellence”, said Co-Owner David Conte.

Founded in VA in 1957, Conte’s has been recognized 11 times as one of the Top 100 Best Bicycle Retailers in America, was cited by Tidewater Women Magazine as the recipient of the Ladies Choice Award in the Bike Shops category, and designated “Retailer of the Year” by the Retail Alliance. In 2016, Bicycle Retailer and Industry News selected Conte’s as one of only 6 Award nominees for National Bicycle Retailer of the Year. With 14 locations in Virginia, Washington, D.C. and Florida, the Company prides itself on being a center and resource for the cycling community, offering events, clinics, professional fitting services, structured rides and online resources.

We Welcome Fresh Perspectives on the New Strategic Plan

Right now, WABA is working on its 2025 strategic plan—a blueprint for making bicycling better in our region over the next five years. The strategic plan is a guiding document that will define our organizational goals, targets, and strategy from 2021 to 2025. This is a process we started in early 2019, so we would have ample time to evaluate our current plan and collect feedback. As a result, we’ve created an organizational assessment that is based on public and member surveys, interviews with key stakeholders, a SWOT analysis, a light field scan of similar organizations, and a full staff and board retreat.

Want to hear more about where we are on the 2025 strategic plan process? Join us at the Annual Member Meeting and Bicyclists’ Choice Awards on Wednesday, February 26, 2020!

Member Meeting

At the 2019 Member Meeting we asked attendees to highlight which words in WABA’s current vision and mission they found the most meaningful. The top five selections were: livable, environment, safe, advocating, and transportation. 

A few months later, we also distributed a survey to get insight into our members’ priorities and got back similar results. Over 600 people graciously shared their feedback about WABA’s current mission, vision, and values.

Respondents support WABA because they want to see a region where bicycling is comfortable, convenient, and safe, but the survey also suggests that equitable transportation and the environment are areas of work that are important to our members and supporters. Unsurprisingly, WABA supporters listed climate change and traffic safety as the two issues they care most about. 

We also asked respondents which strategies they felt were the most critical to advancing WABA’s mission. Over 75% of folks said that educating politicians and officials, addressing the culture of unsafe driving, and building larger action-oriented coalitions resonated most with them. And finally, they said they would be inclined to participate—by donating, volunteering, or organizing—if WABA were to increase its work with driver outreach, pedestrian safety, and safe accommodations. 

Finally, our public survey indicated that affordable housing, climate change, and healthcare are key issues for area residents. This suggests a path for WABA to engage the broader public on common ground that supports bicycling while also improving housing affordability, fighting climate change, and improving public health. 

At our 2020 Member Meeting, we will be sharing our progress and highlighting the draft goals and strategies that our staff and board have been working on. We hope you will come and offer your fresh perspective!

Member Meeting

Join us at the Annual Member Meeting and Bicyclists’ Choice Awards on Wednesday, February 26, 2020!

Thank You For One Last Hains Point 100!

Now that we have had a few weeks to thaw out and get through the holidays, we wanted to thank you again for joining us for the 2019 Hains Point 100—The Finale. The sky was clear, the wind calm, and—most importantly—joy was everywhere. 

Thank you for eight amazing years of coming together to ride bicycles, making new friends, celebrating old friends, sharing a laugh, and supporting getting even more women on bikes. And thank you to all the business supporters for making it the largest door prize and grab bag ever.

In short, thank you #bikedc for being you. You brought snacks to the potluck, magic, and your awesome selves to the ride. You definitely made December 22nd such a special day. 

Because of the generosity of you and the community, we raised $11,600 for WABA Women & Bicycles!

Since the first Hains Point 100, you brought over 2600 people for loop de loops of Hains Point, and we raised over $85,000 to support more women on bikes. 

The HP100 memory will live on with every person you’ve helped with advocacy, education, and encouragement through the WABA Women & Bicycles Program.

What a ride! Thank you for being part of it, and we hope you’ll continue to support WABA and its mission in the future.

From our friends,
Megan Jones and Mark Blacknell

Want to relive the fun? Dominion Cycling Photography generously took a bunch of great photos of the event and is offering free downloads. Photo album is here.

Spring Adult Classes: Register now!

Winter may not be over just yet, but our  spring 2020 bicycle education classes are posted and registration is now open! Check out our schedule and find an upcoming class or community ride in a neighborhood near you!

Sign Up

WABA’s bicycle education classes help you to build confidence! Whether you’re a seasoned bicyclist or are learning to ride  for the first time, our experienced instructors will provide the tips, tricks, and guidance you need to bike with ease.  Did we mention that our classes are FREE for WABA members? Check out all the benefits of membership at waba.org/extras and become a member today!

Join WABA

Choosing the Class That is Right for You

Adult Learn to Ride – This 3 hour class is for adults who have never ridden a bike before or have not been on a bike in some time. Participants learn the basics of balancing, gliding, and pedaling, with the goal of riding by the end of class! 

Class Details: 

  • Bicycles and helmets provided
  • Subsidized registrations available 
  • Advanced registration required

Basic Skills Clinic – This 2 hour clinic is for participants who have recently taken an Adult Learn to Ride class and would like to continue practicing basic skills. Instructors will teach basic bike handling drills drills such as starting and stopping, turning, weaving and gradual braking.

Class Details: 

  • Bicycles and helmets provided!
  • Bring your own bike and helmet for a reduced registration cost
  • Advanced registration required

City Cycling – This 3 hour class is for participants who know how to ride a bike but would like to build confidence. Participants run through basic bike handling skills to hazard avoidance maneuvers and discuss strategies for riding in different road, bike lane and trail situations. The class ends with a group ride where participants put their newly acquired skills into practice.

Class Details: 

  • Participants must bring their own bicycle and helmet!
  • Use a Capital Bikeshare bike and WABA will reimburse your usage fee!
  • Advanced registration recommended, drop ins are free!

Community Rides – WABA’s community rides are an inclusive space for riders of all levels to explore the region. Community rides are designed to accommodate different distances and interests. 

Class Details: 

  • Family friendly 
  • Participants must bring their own bicycle and helmet
  • Use a Capital Bikeshare bike and WABA will reimburse your usage fee!

Advanced registration recommended, drop ins are free!

Still not sure which class is right for you? Email us at education@waba.org or call 202-518-0524 ext. 221. We’ll help you get signed up for a class in no time. 

Classes Offered with Spanish Translation

This season, select classes across the region will be offered with Spanish translation! 

Our highly-trained instructors will provide one-on-one or group interpretation to make sure you have the best experience possible. Have any questions? Email education@waba.org.

Now that spring class registration is open, what are you waiting for? Make 2020 the year you accomplish your biking goals. Sign up for a class today!  We can’t wait to see you out there. 

WABA is proud to partner with the District of Columbia, Montgomery County, Arlington County and The City of Alexandria to provide bicycle education classes near you!

Climate Ride Heading From Philly to DC

Q: What ride gives you the chance to…

  • Spend four days on a scenic, supported ride on quiet roads and bike trails?
  • Raise awareness about climate change— and be part of the solution?
  • Meet like-minded outdoors-enthusiasts and advocates?
  • and (saved the best for last!) support WABA?

A: Climate Ride’s Liberty Ride!

Climate Ride is back in DC! September 10-13, 2020, bicyclists will be riding from Philadelphia to Washington, DC on a peer-to-peer fundraising ride. They’re bringing a message about sustainability, urgent climate action, and active transportation to the nation’s capital (otherwise known as “home” to those of us in the region).

The Liberty Ride is a multi-day fundraiser that empowers participants to do what they love — riding bikes! — to raise money for organizations they think are doing important work.  That’s right— when you sign up for the Liberty Ride, you can join Team WABA and designate WABA as a beneficiary of your fundraising! Simply enter Team WABA at registration to join the team.

Questions about the Liberty Ride? All the info is on the Climate Ride website.

We’re Hiring: Trail Rangers

Two people bike away from the camera on a trail - they are both pulling trailers with brooms and are wearing Trail Ranger uniform shirts.

Do you love being outdoors and connecting with people? Want to be part of a collaborative trail team in DC this summer and be paid to engage with folks about trails and fix trails?

The Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) is looking for five passionate and energetic professional trail champions with a wide range of skills and experiences for our 2020 Trail Ranger Team. We are looking for people who are dependable and thoughtful. Beyond this, there is not a standard job history, experience of biking, years of experience or skills set for previously successful Trail Rangers. Now in our eighth season, the Trail Ranger program is a beloved presence on local trails and has a strong reputation as a great working environment with high job satisfaction.

WABA’s Trail Ranger program encourages trail use through daily trail presence, community engagement, trail maintenance, and trail user assistance. Reporting to our Outreach Manager, Trail Rangers cover trails within the District, including the Metropolitan Branch Trail, Anacostia River Trail, Marvin Gaye Trail, and connecting street routes. Trail Rangers act as trail ambassadors, offering a consistent and friendly presence from May through September to make the trails more approachable, enjoyable, and dependable for transportation and recreation.

Intangible benefits include: working outside on those perfect spring days, getting to know your city better through talking with neighbors, and appreciation from fellow trail users. 

The Trail Ranger season is expected to begin May 4th and end on September 31st, 2020. Pay will be $16.50 per hour for new Trail Rangers, and $17.50 per hour for returning Trail Rangers. WABA announces shift schedules well in advance and the program is designed to work for part-time employment knowing employees have other work and life commitments. 

You can learn more about the Trail Ranger program here.

Job Responsibilities:

  • Spend the majority of your work hours outside, biking on or between trails.
  • Work in shifts with a partner riding bikes at a relaxed, conversational pace on an 8 hour shift.
  • Collaborate with team members to determine daily priorities and share program information. 
  • Support and encourage trail use with friendly and helpful trail presence, regular maintenance efforts and consistent outreach events
  • Help lower barriers to bicycling, build community, and build a more robust trail network.
    • Develop and maintain relationships with regular trail users and community members.
    • Bring new users to the trail through community outreach and engagement.
  • Run cleanups and community events with the program coordinator.
  • Manage volunteers joining the team at events and on daily shifts. 
  • Perform inspections of trail conditions and maintenance of trail corridors including pruning branches, gathering trash, and removing obstructions.
  • Make regular reports on daily trail conditions, needs, and trends..
  • Be outside in all weather, with the exemption of thunderstorms and other hazardous conditions.
  • Each team member will be individually responsible for an operational project, including: team bike maintenance, tools maintenance, and shift supplies.
  • Learn about the trails, and neighborhoods served by the trails. 
  • Assist at other WABA events as needed.

Qualifications

Trail Rangers must have:

  • A proven track record for being dependable, timely, and communicative.
  • The willingness to be positive and engaging in a public setting.
  • The willingness and enthusiasm to work in a collaborative team and as a proactive, self starter. 
  • The capacity to be available for 16-24 hours per week in 8 hour shifts with weekday and weekend availability. Shifts are:
    • 6:30 am – 2:30 pm or 11:00 am – 7:00 pm on weekdays.
    • 9:00 am – 5:00 pm on weekends.
  • A commitment to work May 4th to September 31st, 2020.
  • The ability to ride a bike with a willingness to ride in mixed city traffic and off-street trails while pulling a trailer.
  • A commitment to being a safe and exemplary bicyclist.
  • A commitment to respect, include, and be kind to all.
  • An understanding of how race, gender, and other factors shape conversations and experiences. 
  • The willingness to further their knowledge on trail and neighborhood history, and the societal impacts of race, gender and identity and how they intersect with their job. 

Additional qualifications and experience that are helpful but not required:

  • A proven track record for working collaboratively within a team.
  • Excellent communication skills in informal settings and across lines of difference.
  • Creative problem-solving skills and capacity to innovate.
  • The ability to prioritize and a thoughtful attention to detail
  • Lived experience with our program trails and the surrounding neighborhoods

Trail Rangers operate as a team program and benefit from the unique skills and talents of each team member. Ideally, one or more Trail Rangers will have:

  • Working knowledge of basic bicycle maintenance including patching a flat tire and adjusting brakes.
  • Fluency in Spanish, ASL or Amharic a strong plus.
  • Previous experience as a DC Trail Ranger.

Support

WABA is committed to:

  • Teaching you the skills necessary for the job (urban bike riding, basic trail maintenance, basic bike maintenance, how to do bicycle outreach)
  • Ensuring an inclusive, collaborative professional team environment
  • Run an intersectional outreach program that recognizes the multitudes of identities and promotes diversity, inclusion, and equity for employees and the public
  • Orientation and team management that prioritizes your well-being, including training in preventing common biking injuries.
  • Doing our best to have a consistent schedule that respects your time and outside obligations.
  • Providing all the tools, bikes and materials needed to perform the job.

Apply

This position is part-time from May 4th, 2020 through September 31st, 2020 for approximately 20 hours per week. 

Please email a cover letter and resume to jobs@waba.org with “Trail Ranger” as the subject line. Please make sure your application illustrates how you meet the qualifications for the job and what additional skills you would bring to the team. 

Here are some helpful resources as you prepare your job application materials: compilation of resources and resume basics.  

Applications will be accepted until March 23rd though candidates are strongly encouraged to apply earlier. Phone interviews will begin March 30th, hiring decisions will be made by April 15th and team orientation will be May 4th – May 7th. Phone calls at (202) 518-0524 x208 only if you do not have easy internet access please.

WABA is committed to providing equal employment opportunity for all persons regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, marital status, arrest record or criminal convictions, political affiliation, sexual orientation or gender identity, disability, sex, or age.

Job(s): DC United Bike Ambassador

Do you love bicycling? Are you interested in educating others and sharing your passion? Do you want to earn extra money? Help WABA get soccer fans excited about bicycling. Answer questions, share resources, and bring the bike love! Consider applying to be a DC United Bike Ambassador.

Help Establish Bike Culture at Audi Field 

Being a DC United Bike Ambassador means that you want to support people who bike and encourage more people to try bicycling as a way to get to Audi Field. As a DC United Bike Ambassador you’ll set up a table at Audi Field to answer bicycle-related questions and distribute helpful resources to people attending the games. You’ll be on-site around Audi Field for the entire two-hour shift.

Responsibilities:

  • Staffing various shifts from February through October (with a possibility of additional shifts after October if DC United qualifies for the playoffs). Games are typically midday during weekends and evening during weekdays. 
  • Distribute print resources to community members, such as DC Bike Maps, Quick Start Guides, DC Pocket Law Guides, Capital Bikeshare information, and other WABA education and promotional materials.
  • Answering questions in a helpful and supportive manner. That means meeting folks where they are at – no mansplaining, no bicycle jargon. 

Qualifications

  • A strong commitment to WABA’s mission.
  • Willingness and excitement to learn and share information about bicycling safety, traffic law, skills, and WABA’s bike encouragement philosophy
  • A flexible schedule and willingness to work evenings and weekends.
  • The willingness to be positive, engaging, and approachable in a public setting.

Additional Skills

  • Let us know if you have conversational fluency in Spanish, ASL, or Amharic

Pay and Job Structure

We are looking for 10 people to work shifts this season. Bike Ambassadors are 1099 independent contractors, paid $17/hour with a 2 hour commitment per game. Audi Field will host 2-4 games per month, so we expect each person to work an average of 1-3 games per month. 

To be considered, please email jobs@waba.org with the subject heading “DC United Bike Ambassador” by Thursday, February 20th and your answer to these questions:

  1. What interests you about being a DC United Bike Ambassador?
  2. What methods have you found effective in engaging people in conversations around a cause? (bicycling or otherwise)

Book Bike Safety Training Brings Safe Cycling to DC Public Library Staff

DC Public Library staff runs the Book Bike through an Instant Turn drill.

If you spend enough time in Northeast DC you’ve probably seen the Book Bike before. It’s big and blue and pretty easy to spot as it goes rolling down the Metropolitan Branch Trail (MBT). 

The Book Bike is a part of the DC Public Library’s outreach team. It travels to farmer’s markets, cultural celebrations, community events and can even be found at the MBT coffee hour on the 2nd Friday of every month.  Visitors can sign up for a library card, check out a book on the go and speak to knowledgeable library staff about the many events and opportunities DCPL has to offer. DCPL is looking to expand the Book Bike’s reach by training more staff on how to ride it so that they can bring it to more events. 

Riding a cargo bike takes a bit of practice. Did we mention it is big and blue and full of library books?

To get even more DCPL staff up to speed and trained in how to operate the Book Bike, WABA hosted a custom bicycle safety training. The training brought ten library employees from branches across the District to learn the ins and outs of DC traffic law and how to ride properly while representing your organization.

Many of the DC Library staff in attendance were comfortable commuting to work by bicycle each day, but were eager to learn some new tips for riding safely and considerately while on the job. After a 45 minute long presentation and discussion on traffic law and street safety, the group traveled over to the Harry Thomas Recreation Center to test ride the Book Bike and practice hazard avoidance maneuvers essential when biking in traffic and on trails.

Although the Book Bike feels different than a regular two-wheeler, participants got the hang of how it moves while practicing starting, stopping, shifting, turning and weaving. Its wide turning radius means you have to lean way over the side of the bike as you move the handlebars. If you do it just right, the 200 pound cargo box full of books counterbalances your weight and keeps you from tipping over. 

After an hour of drills practice, the group took to the streets to put some of their newly acquired skills into action. Along the Metropolitan Branch Trail we stopped to discuss trail etiquette and how to respectfully navigate amongst the many walkers, runners, dogs, scooters and fellow bicyclists that use the trail each day. While riding along the streets of NOMA we discussed lane positioning, hazard awareness and communicating with motorists. Participants learned when to use bike lanes and what to do when a bike lane suddenly ends. 

These skills are essential, not only while riding for work, but for every ride. Learning how to safely navigate through heavily trafficked areas will boost your confidence and prepare you for the many different situations we face on the roads each day. 

You can learn all of these skills and more by signing up for a Confident City Cycle class in a neighborhood near you! Keep an eye out, our 2020 Spring class schedule will be posted soon. 

Want to bring a training like this to your workplace? Email us at education@waba.org.

Keep an eye out for the DCPL Book Bike as it rolls across town. Check out some of the library’s upcoming events and visit  dclibrary.org/bike for information on the annual Tour de DCPL, bike repair clinics, and even more bike resources. 

Urgent: Fairness for Crash Victims in Virginia

People injured walking and biking in Virginia face an uphill battle to get fairly compensated for damages from a crash resulting from a negligent driver. An antiquated legal doctrine called contributory negligence stacks the deck in favor of insurance companies and against people who are hurt. Crashes can cause damage to a person’s bike and other property, run up expensive medical bills and impact one’s ability to work. Injured people deserve a fighting chance to be fairly compensated for damages.

The Virginia General Assembly is considering legislation that will level the playing field when bicyclists and pedestrians are hurt in crashes by negligent drivers. Yesterday, the Civil Law Subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee voted in support of Senate Bill 659 and tomorrow the full committee will vote on the bill. The legislation is modeled on a similar bill passed in the District of Columbia in 2016 which has shown to be effective, targeted and fair.

People walking and biking in Virginia involved in a crash with the driver of a motor vehicle can be completed barred from receiving any compensation for injuries if they are even slightly at fault. Depending on the severity of a crash, a victim can rack up huge medical bills, lost wages because of missed work, face lasting injuries and other damages to personal property such as a bicycle.

Under the antiquated legal doctrine contributory negligence, powerful insurance companies can deny all claims from a crash victim in unfair and unjust ways. 46 states in the United States have adopted the more fair comparative standard that weighs each parties negligence and adjusts compensation accordingly

Senate Bill 659 is modeled on a similar bill passed in the District of Columbia in 2016 which gives crash victims access to full compensation if they are the less negligent party. The DC law has shown to be effective, targeted and fair. Scare tactics from the insurance industry have not borne out. Virginia’s crash victims deserve better.

Yesterday, the Civil Law Subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee favorable voted in support of Senate Bill 659 and tomorrow the full committee will vote on the bill. The next step in the process would be a vote by the full State Senate if the bill is reported out of the Judiciary Committee.

Editor’s note: please pardon our typos. The Virginia legislative session is extremely short.