Families Who Lost Loved Ones Come Together for World Day of Remembrance

On Sunday, November 19th, cities around the world hosted World Day of Remembrance to honor those who have lost their lives or sustained serious injuries due to traffic crashes. This year was the first year the Washington Area Bicyclist Association hosted an event to commemorate those who have been killed. We gathered at Grant Circle in the Petworth neighborhood of Washington, DC and had 4 families of loved one speak about the losing their family members to traffic violence.

We started with WABA’s Executive Director, Greg Billing, speaking about the importance and need for Vision Zero. 

Executive Director Greg Billing opening speech at World Day of Remembrance event

Our first speaker was Christina Quinn whose father was a bicyclist hit by a driver. She gave a heartfelt account of how her father, Timothy Holden’s death has left a hole in her life and the life of her family. She called for the city to make roads safer for travelers.

Christina Quinn speaking about the loss of her father, Timothy Holden.

David Helms, an avid bicyclist, spoke about losing his mother, Robert Pickle Helms. He gave a passionate plea to slow down when we get behind the wheel of a car and refrain from driving when we have had too much to drink or are sleep deprived. 

David Helms speaking about the loss of his mother Roberta Pickle Helms due to an intoxicated driver

The brave aunts of 6-year-old Xavier Luckey spoke about how raw the wounds are from losing their beloved child on his birthday. He was hit and killed before he could cut his birthday cake or open a single present by a driver who didn’t stop. He was about to graduate from kindergarten. They asked the city to do something about speeding cars in neighborhoods near schools so that no other parent will lose their child to a traffic crash.

Chernelle Luckey and Lachone Simms speaking about the loss of their nephew Xavier Luckey on his 6th birthday

Xavier Luckey killed May 2017

The sister and brother-in-law of Chaplin’s Restaurant, Armin Amin – Toomaji spoke. They remembered Armin as “a gentle giant who loved people.” He was a warm spirit, a man who cared for the homeless. He had always wanted to own a restaurant and his dream came true by opening Chaplin’s in the Shaw area of DC. He was struck and killed by driver while walking a customer to her car. 

Arzin Amin and her husband speaking about the loss of her brother Armin Amin-Toomaji

Tamara Evans, WABA’s Advocacy Director, read aloud all 57 names of the people who died in traffic crashes in the District from 2016- 2017. It was a somber moment as we reflected that each of those names represented a member of a community just like those that we’d lifted up.  A community that loves and misses them, even if they couldn’t join us to tell their story.

 

Street Smart team holding signs with the names of the 57 people who have died due to traffic fatalities from 2016-2017

The event ended with Renée Moore, WABA’s Vision Zero Community Organizer, speaking about the need to treat traffic fatalities as an epidemic and not as a disruption to our day on the way to our destination.

This event is a call to action for our city to make our roads safer for everyone and to make sure no one dies on our roads. You can show support by taking the Vision Zero pledge.

This week only: “How’s My Driving” Scavenger Hunt!

Help us make a case:

We’re looking for pictures and videos of professional drivers behaving unprofessionally. You know, blocking bike lanes, passing unsafely, blocking sidewalks and crosswalks. Stuff you probably encounter every day. We’re also on the hunt for photos of professional drivers parking, stopping, or unloading correctly on streets with bike infrastructure, and driving safely around bicyclists and pedestrians.

So we’re hosting a scavenger hunt and keeping a scorecard of sorts:

To sweeten the deal. We’ll be giving away a WABA t-shirt to the person who submits the most photos or videos. We’ll announce the winner on Friday, October 5th.

Here’s how to participate::

  • Post a photo or video of a Fedex, Mail, UPS truck in a bike lane (Or parked appropriately next to a bike lane) (1pt)
  • Post a photo or video of a driver in a bike lane picking up or dropping off someone(Or discharging passengers appropriately next to a bike lane) (1pt)
  • Post a photo or video of a delivery truck in a bike lane (or unloading appropriately next to a bike lane) (1pt)
  • You can post on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram and use the hashtag #StreetsForPeopleDC , and tag us (@WABADC) when you post
  • Double points for photos and videos in NE, SE, SW (unsurprisingly, we have a lot of photos of 14th St NW)
  • You can also submit pics with your name or Twitter handle via email to renee.moore@waba.org

Get your submissions in by Friday, September 29th at 6 pm

Here’s what we have so far:

 

Let’s grade some intersections!

Over the past year, our Vision Zero team has been holding neighborhood workshops in each of the District’s 8 Wards. We meet up with neighbors, commuters, and community advocates to visit a dangerous intersection or two, then talk about what might make it safer. Out of those conversations, we put together a report card for each intersection. Here are our report cards so far:

Want to join us at our next intersection visit?

Workshop: Ward 6 Mobile Traffic Safety Workshop

August 19, 10:00 AM
Navy Yard Metro

We’ll talk about how to make two intersections safer, then check out the Southwest Farmers Market at the end of the workshop.

Register here

Workshop: Ward 2 Mobile Traffic Safety Workshop

August 23, 6:30 PM
McPherson Square Metro

Join us for a walking workshop to discuss how to make the K St corridor safer for everyone.

Register here

Workshop: Ward 8 Mobile Traffic Safety Workshop

September 7, 7:00 PM
Anacostia Metro Station.

Join us for a walking workshop to discuss how to make three intersections in Anacostia safer for everyone.

Register here

Workshop: Ward 1 Mobile Traffic Safety Workshop

September 14, 6:30 PM
PNC Bank 14th and Park Rd.

Join us for a walking workshop to discuss how to make the intersections in Columbia Heights and Adams Morgan safer for everyone.

Register here

Wanted: Videos of the Good, Bad & Ugly of DC Roads

Have you been biking or walking in DC and seen behavior that makes you cringe? Maybe it’s a driver running a red light or a delivery vehicle parked in a bike lane. Maybe you have seen great things as you traveled, like families with young kids using protected bike lanes, or delivery vehicles stationed outside of bike lanes with cones. Or maybe you’ve captured video of people navigating bad infrastruture—trying to cross a busy street, trying to merge out of a disappearing bike lane. If you have seen anything like this, we want your help!

Here’s what we are looking for:

  • Videos that show the good, bad, and the ugly of roads and road users.
  • Videos should be less than 2 minutes long.
  • Please take a few moments to describe what is happening in the video, including when and where it was taken.
  • Post the video to any of the following social media:
    • Twitter using #streetsforpeopleDC and tag @wabadc and @dcvisionzero in the post.
    • Instagram and tag @wabadc and #streetsforpeopleDC
    • Facebook and tag @wabadc #streetsforpeopleDC
    • Or download your video and send it to us at renee.moore@waba.org and we’ll post it to YouTube. In the subject line put VZ DC roads video

Here are a few more examples:

https://twitter.com/ATPcommutes/status/878952644492001281

 

 

 

We will share and promote the videos to help make the experience of bicyclists and pedestrians easier to see and understand. We appreciate you helping us to collect videos of DC streets!

Deanwood Peace in the Streets Ride

On the Saturday before Father’s Day, The House of Praise Church hosted its annual Peace in the Streets Ride. The ride is designed to get the community on bikes and show a peaceful ride of residents in Ward 7. The ride is about 16 miles total and leaves from the church in Deanwood and goes to the White House where they say a prayer before returning to the church.   

We were asked by co-organizer Christine Hart- Wright to help with advertising and making sure participants had working bicycles. We worked with Capital Bikeshare who provided bikes free of charge to participants who didn’t own a bike.

This gave CaBi an opportunity to showcase the bikes in the Deanwood neighborhood and for those who used them to see how easy they are to take out, ride and dock.

There were about 20 people including riders from Women & Bicycles, Black Women Bike DC and house of Praise Church that showed up to ride. Christine kicked us off with a prayer and Allyson Criner-Brown led us in stretches and a short safety talk.

While the group rode off to the White House, Jeff Wetzel, our Youth and Family Coordinator, set up a course for a rodeo for the kids.  The kids were able to use one of our bicycles and helmets to practice techniques such as hand signals when turning and how to avoid debris on the road. They had a great time riding the bikes in the church’s parking lot.

 

The riders took off on their ride to the White House led by the three Metropolitan Police Department Officers. Once there, they stopped for a picture to commemorate the event.

Around 12 noon, everyone arrived back at the House of Praise Church for a pizza reception. Christine works tirelessly every year to make this ride happen. She wants to encourage the residents of Ward 7 and particularly Deanwood to ride their bikes on the nearby trails and bike lanes and we’re happy to be a partner in her mission to get more people in Ward 7 biking!

 

 

Regional Vision Zero Summit Recap

Driver Training and Accountability Panel

On March 31st, WABA hosted the region’s first Vision Zero Summit at the Milken Institute on the campus of The George Washington University. The summit was presented by the AAA-MidAtlantic and The George Washington University Hospital. The event was sold out with a waiting list. 170 people attended.

The morning plenary featured an opening welcome by Dr. Babak Sarani, Associate Professor of Surgery and the Director of the Center for Trauma and Critical Care at The George Washington University Hospital.

Dr. Babak Sarani

Greg Billing, the Executive Director of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, spoke about the why Vision Zero is so important in our region and that we need commitments from Maryland and Virginia to make Vision Zero a reality in our region.

Gregory Billing, Executive Director, WABA

Dr. Yang, from AAA Foundation, presented his topic about major issues that affect road safety. Dr. Yang discussed issues such as distracted driving. Distracted driving includes texting while driving. Although 93% of drivers find it unacceptable to text while driving over ⅓ admit to doing it and 40% admit to answering a text while driving. One of the other issues with affecting road safety is impaired driving which includes marijuana use, drinking and driving drowsy.

Dr. C.Y. David Yang, AAA Foundation

The final speaker of the morning was Emiko Atherton, Director of National Complete Streets Coalition who spoke about the role of equity in Vision Zero. Three important points from Emiko’s presentation were:

  1. Focus on education and reduce the burden
  2. Focus on engineering and roadway design
  3. Don’t just invest in downtown and business districts. Invest in people

Emiko Atherton, Smart Growth America

After the morning plenary, attendees went to one of three breakout rooms. The sessions included Opportunities for Cross-jurisdictional Cooperation, Public Health Case Studies and Vision Zero and High-Risk Road Users.

Opportunities for Cross-jurisdictional Cooperation was moderated by Robert Thomson of the Washington Post. It was his last day at the Post before retiring and he graciously spent it with us. His panelists were Montgomery County Councilmember Hans Riemer, DC Department of Motor Vehicles Lucinda Babers, KLS Engineering owner, Leverson Boodlal and Prince George’s County Pedestrian and Bicycle Manager, Karyn McAlister.

Panelists discussed the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments and their role as the channel that we’ve traditionally used for regional coordination. Although it is a vehicle for coordination, the quality of the products that come out of that coordination is debatable.

Opportunities for Cross-jurisdictional Cooperation Panelists

Public Health Case Studies was moderated by WAMU reporter Martin Di Caro. Panelists Kurt Erickson, CEO of Washington Area Alcohol Program (WRAP), Erin Thomas, Tobacco Cessation Manager at DC Department of Health and Jeff Michael from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration spoke about what Vision Zero can learn from other public health campaigns.

Vision Zero and High -Risk Road Users discussed how was can make roads safe for those with disabilities, youth, pedestrians, bicyclists and the elderly. The panel was moderated by Michele Blackwell, Chief of Staff for Councilmember- At- Large, Elissa Silverman. The panel consisted of Susie McFadden-Resper from the Office of Disability Rights, Sterling Stone, Executive Director of Gearin’ Up Bicycles and Melissa McMahon, transportation planner for Arlington County. Unfortunately, DDOT hasn’t always paid attention to curb-cuts and sidewalk access to stay in accordance with the American Disabilities Act (ADA). Susie McFadden-Resper has only been in her role for 2 years and is starting to change the behavior of DDOT when permitting takes place. Her work on this area will definitely help make it safer for those with disabilities.

Vision Zero and High- Risk Users Panelists

During lunch, Mayor Muriel Bowser spoke about how DC can do work on Vision Zero but it won’t be successful if the 5 surrounding counties aren’t on board with Vision Zero as well. She also spoke about her commitment to bike and pedestrian safety as an important part of DC’s plan for the future.

Mayor Muriel Bowser

After lunch, the second breakout sessions began: Vision Zero and Public Health, Human Impacts of Traffic Fatalities, and Vision Zero and Enforcement.

Vision Zero and Public Health was moderated by Phronie Jackson, a fellow with Walk America’s Walking College and included panelists Dr. Chikarlo Leak from the D.C. Office of the Chief Medical Examiner,  Dr. Anneta Arno from the D.C. Department of Health and Kate Robb from the American Public Health Association. Panelists discussed why and how we should treat traffic fatalities as a health epidemic much like we would treat diabetes or obesity. Dr. Leak shared the fact that we have lots of stats about who is being affected. Drugs are included in approximately 60% of the fatal car accidents in the region. Dr. Arno added, “are we trying to trick people into acting a certain way, or fostering a culture where they WANT to act that way?” This is a discussion that we definitely need to continue having as we move forward with educating residents about Vision Zero.

Vision Zero and Public Health Panelists

The Human Impacts of Traffic Fatalities put a very human perspective on Vision Zero. Moderated by DC Department of Transportation’s Jonathan Rogers, there was discussion about how serious injuries and fatalities take a person out of a household and what that means to a family. Panelist Christina Quinn shared her personal experience of losing her father to a bicycle crash. The Bike Lawyer, Bruce Deming and Melissa Shear from the Office of the Attorney General discussed the legal implications of traffic fatalities. During this panel, we learned that participants found to be at fault in causing death through a car crash can walk away with only a fine of $700. This is what happened in Christina’s family’s case. Bruce discussed underinsured coverage and shared that many states across the country don’t have any legislation in place for the minimum amount (if any) of insurance that an individual needs to have in order to operate a vehicle. His conclusion is that all of us should make sure that our under-insured limit is higher.

Human Impacts of Traffic Fatalities Panelists

Vision Zero and Enforcement included panelists Lamont Hinton from Metropolitan Police Department’s Automated Traffic Enforcement Unit, Sgt. Charles Seckler from the Alexandria Police Department and Joanne Thomka from the National Association of Attorney Generals. It was moderated by D.C. Pedestrian Advisory Councilmember Eileen McCarthy. The panel discussed the role of law enforcement in Vision Zero. The main takeaway was speeding fines aren’t for generating revenues, it’s to change behavior by hitting people’s pocketbooks.

Vision Zero and Enforcement Panel

The final breakout sessions of the day were Winning Over the Public to Vision Zero, Infrastructure: Designing Safe Streets, and Driver Training and Accountability.

Winning Over the Public to Vision Zero panel was moderated by Washington Post reporter Martine Powers and included panelists Caroline Samponaro from Transportation Alternatives in NYC, Marieannette Otero from Safe Routes to Schools, Moira McCauley from All Walks DC and rounding out the panel was Christine Mayeur from Nspiregreen. This all female panel discussed how we can’t lose control of the messaging and allow traditional media use Vision Zero as a reason that fines go up if we do then we are at a deficit with the public.  We have to make Vision Zero about HUMAN stories, putting families front and center is the way to go. People who complain about fines will look silly when you compare their complaints to someone who has lost a family member.

Winning Over the Public to Vision Zero Panel

Infrastructure: Designing Safe Streets panel kicked off with moderator urban planner and writer, Dan Reed. Panelists included Hillary Orr, Special Assistant to the City Manager with the City of Alexandria, VA Erv T. Beckert, planning engineer with Prince George’s County,  David Aspacher, transportation planner with Montgomery County and Andy Clarke, Director of Strategy for Toole Design Group. The panelists discussed the difficulties with redesigning roads when the public sees parking spaces taken away. Hillary Orr led a successful campaign in Alexandria a year ago by going door-to-door and sitting down and talking with the neighbors about the plan and listened to what they had to say.

Infrastructure: Designing Safe Streets Panel

Erv T. Beckert of Prince George’s county kept referring to DC as having it easy. Prince George’s streets were originally designed for 55 MPH speed limits. Slowing that down now is a great challenge and one that is being examined all the time. Not to mention, the county doesn’t own many of the problematic roads, the state does, and that is another challenge all in itself.

The final breakout of the day was Driver Training and Accountability with panelists Aaron Landry, general manager of car2go, Brian Sherlock from the Amalgamated Transit Union, Mike Heslin Baltimore Market Manager for Lyft and Laura Richards transportation planner for D.C. Department of Transportation. She specializes in freight and goods movement. The panel was moderated by Will Schafer of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance. Lyft shared a video of how they are educating their drivers and during the panel and car2go made a huge announcement. They are fully committed to Vision Zero and Vision Zero in DC!

Driver Training and Accountability Panel

The Vision Zero Summit wrapped up with Lessons Learned. This diverse panel shared how they have implemented Vision Zero in their cities. The panel consisted of Natalie Draisin from the FIA Foundation, Eva Hunnius Ohlin from the Embassy of Sweden, Sam Zimbabwe of D.C. Department of Transportation, Carrie Sanders from the City of Alexandria, Sabrina Sussman from the NYC Mayor’s Office and rounding out the panel was moderator Caroline Samponaro from Transportation Alternatives. The big take away from this panel was simple: traffic fatalities can be cured. The vaccine is slow down.

 

Lessons Learned from Other Cities Panel

Traffic Calming 101

In an earlier blog, we discussed some possible ways that Vision Zero may affect DC streets. Traffic calming is one of the tools for making streets safer for our most vulnerable users, like pedestrians, bicyclists, children, the elderly, and the mobility-impaired.

Our roads are designed by traffic engineers. They tend to use the same standards that they use to design highways, even though neighborhood roads are used by a variety of users. When roads are “overbuilt” (ie: have more lanes than necessary, or wider lanes) they send signals to drivers that it’s okay to drive much faster than the posted speed limit. This is a design problem that can be addressed by the traffic calming measures discussed below.

According to a report by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, reducing vehicle speeds, also called “traffic calming,” makes a big difference in serious injuries and traffic fatalities. When a person is struck by a car traveling at 15 mph, the risk of death is less than 5%. At 25 mph, the risk of death more than doubles to 12%. And if a person is struck by a car traveling at 45mp, the risk of death is 60%! Slowing down traffic can greatly reduce the likelihood of death or serious injury for vulnerable road users.

According to the Institute of Transportation Engineers, traffic calming is the combination of mainly physical measures that reduce the negative effects of motor vehicle use, alter driver behavior and improve conditions for non-motorized street users.

Traffic calming is the deliberate slowing down of traffic through neighborhoods by building speed bumps or other obstructions. Traffic calming helps to reduce crashes and increases the safety and convenience of pedestrians and other non-motorized vehicles. Neighborhood Streets Network noted traffic calming measures can also give children more space to play, decrease noise pollution and improve the scenery.  

This week, I’ll discuss some traffic calming measures suggested by the Project for Public Spaces you have probably seen in and around DC.

Road Diet

road diet

In road diet, planners and engineers reduce the number of lanes, or width of existing lanes, on the street. This is usually done by creating a separate space for pedestrians and bicyclists to travel. Road diets help reduce crashes by separating bicyclists from cars with physical barriers, making everyone’s commute better.

To learn more, check out this 2 minute video, which shows how planners can redesign a roadway.

Protected Bike Lanes

15th St. protected bike lane extension

Protected bike lanes visually reduce the width of the roads which can reduce drivers’ speed and separate bicyclists from cars by using curbs, planters, or posts.  Protected bike lanes increase safety for bicyclists and encourage new riders to travel for shorter trips, which reduces traffic on the roadways.  

Curb Extensions

A curb extension in Montreal.

A curb extension in Montreal. Photo by Gerald Fittipaldi on Flickr.

Curb extensions physically and visually narrow the roadway without reducing the roadway capacity.  Curb extensions force drivers to be more attentive and drive closer to the speed limit since they lower the design speed of a road. Curb extensions increase pedestrian visibility while decreasing the amount of time it takes to cross the roadway.

Roundabouts

roundabouts-1

Roundabouts are large, raised, circular islands at major intersections. Because the road narrows as a cars approach a roundabout, drivers tend to slow down. Roundabouts help to calm traffic by creating a steady flow of traffic. Since all drivers are traveling in the same direction and at a slower speed, crashes are less severe. Roundabouts are also safer for pedestrians and bicyclists because they only have to cross traffic coming in one direction and the distance is shorter than a typical intersection.

These are just a few of the traffic calming measures that can be used in a city. They each help slow down drivers, which can reduce traffic fatalities and serious injuries.

If you would like to learn more about how you can get involved in reducing traffic fatalities and serious injuries, join us for our community workshop:

Sunday, November 20th
1pm- 4pm
Dorothy Height Library
3935 Benning Rd. NE Washington,  D.C.  20019  

 

Vision Zero FAQ

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Last year, Mayor Bowser committed to Vision Zero, an initiative to eliminate all traffic fatalities by 2024. Between 2010 and 2014, 67 drivers and passengers, 57 pedestrians and 7 bicyclists were killed in traffic related collisions. That’s 131 lives lost because of decisions we as a society make about what to value in road design.

Vision Zero is a paradigm shift to our approach to traffic safety that has at its core the idea that any loss of life on our roads is unacceptable. As the new Vision Zero Community Organizer at WABA, my job is to to make  sure Vision Zero succeeds. It seems like a huge goal but one I know we can reach. To get started, let’s talk about what Vision Zero is, how it will impact your life and what you can do to help make zero traffic fatalities a reality in the Washington DC region.

So let’s start with the basics-

What is Vision Zero?

Vision Zero is a city-wide approach to eliminating all traffic fatalities and serious injuries by 2024 for all people using our roadways. The core principle of Vision Zero is that traffic fatalities and injuries are preventable. Crashes are result of human behavior and poor roadway designs.

How Does Vision Zero Work?

To change the fact that people die on our roads every day, we will have to tackle road safety from a variety of angles, sometimes referred to as “the four E’s” —education, engineering, enforcement, and the evaluation of data. We need more public education about how to behave on the roads to keep from harming others, better roadway designs to minimize conflicts between road users, like people on bicycles, in cars, on foot, and using public transit, better enforcement of traffic laws and using crash data to help prioritize which areas most urgently require design and enforcement interventions to decrease crashes.

Where did the Vision Zero idea originate?

Vision Zero was adopted as national policy in Sweden in 1997. The philosophy of Vision Zero is “no loss of life is acceptable”.  The Vision Zero approach is that humans make mistakes. Our roadways need to keep us moving but those roads should protect us at every turn.

How would implementing Vision Zero change the city’s streets?

Some examples of changes that make streets safer are known as “traffic calming”— measures like removing or narrowing road lanes to send a signal that cars should be traveling at slower speeds. Other interventions include lowered speed limits and speed humps. Sidewalk repairs or additions, protected crosswalks, and pedestrian refuges to make it safer for pedestrians and those in wheelchairs to get around, or protected bike lanes that separate bicycles from car traffic.

Why lower speed limits? Won’t this make traffic worse?

No. Traffic is determined by traffic signals, cars turning and congestion. With lowered speed limits, drivers have a better field of vision to stop for pedestrians and bicyclists thus lowering the number of serious injuries and fatalities from collisions.

How will WABA be involved ?

We will be hosting workshops and street safety audits and asking for people like you in the community to help identify  areas that are unsafe for our most vulnerable citizens- those walking, biking, elderly, children, or disabled. The WABA community will work with DC Department of Transportation and other agencies assigned to do their part to achieve Vision Zero to create safer roadways and sidewalks for travelers.

How many traffic fatalities are there in the DC?

There are 20-25 fatalities due to traffic deaths every year in DC.  About half of those killed are drivers, about half are pedestrians and about 2 are bicyclists.

I want to make streets safer for everyone in DC. How can I help?

We will be hosting a number of workshops and other opportunities throughout the city over the next 12 months. The first one will be at Dorothy Height Library on Benning Rd NE on November 20th at 1pm. We will be discussing Vision Zero, traffic safety, participating in a walking safety audit to explore an intersection that could be safer for DC travelers and making suggestions on how to make the roadway less stressful for all. Come join us and provide your input. Or you can contact me at renee.moore@waba.org

Welcome Our New Community Organizer—Renée Moore

renee moore

Hello!

I’m Renée Moore, the new community organizer focusing on Vision Zero and the former coordinator for WABA’s Women & Bicycles program, a community of 5,400 women working to inspire more women to bike, teach, lead, and advocate in our region.

I’m so happy to be (back) here and working to share the power of biking. It’s very important to me—riding my bike is my favorite activity and it all started here in D.C. I was able to get rid of a gym membership, avoid parking tickets, lose 37 pounds, and have fun all while getting places around the city.

At 6 years old, I ran into a parked car on my bike and my grandfather took my bicycle away from me- forever. For years I would see others riding and think, “wow, that looks like so much fun.” Finally, when I was 25, a guy asked me on a date and asked me what I wanted to do. I said I wanted to learn to ride a bike. He looked surprised and said cool ok! We went to Georgetown, rented a bike and within 2 hours I was riding along the waterfront all by myself. I was free and I loved it.

In 2013, I took my bicycling group to a workshop with Black Women Bike DC, a workshop on how to bike in the city during the winter. I sat in the back the entire time thinking, “ok, there is no way I am riding in DC streets; that is just crazy!” The four or five times we talked about why bicyclists fare best when they ride in the streets I sat there shaking my head. I decided to take the class again in the spring and this time we went on a ride after the workshop.  I found it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought. But in September, my mom had a stroke. Luckily, she caught it in time and I got her in George Washington Hospital. Unfortunately, the parking was $22! I told my mom that I was going to ride my bike to see her rather than spend $154 / week parking the car to come visit her. And I did! I fell in love with riding in DC. I was saving money. I was getting outside. It was therapeutic.

It was great riding the streets of DC, but not every street in DC feels safe to ride on. We need better infrastructure and better enforcement to make sure that our streets are safe for everyone to walk and bike. And that’s what I’ll be working on—making sure the District’s Vision Zero plans are implemented and our Vision Zero goals realized. I’ll need your voice and help to make it happen. You can reach me at renee.moore@waba.org or on Twitter @girlonbluebike.

See you in the bike lanes,
Renée


 

Bike Acronyms: A Glossary

Acronyms can make for soupy conversation.

At a recent Roll Model meeting, one of the attendees leaned over and asked, ‘What is an LCI?” It made me realize that we can use a lot of acronyms around people who have no idea what we are talking about. So this week, let’s look at a few of the most common acronyms you might hear if you spend a lot of time around people who ride bikes.

WABA – Washington Area Bicyclist Association. We help to build better bike lanes, better bike laws, and ultimately better bicyclists. Hello!

MTB – Mountain bike. These bikes are design for riding rough off-road trails. They usually have flat or upright handlebars and very low gears for pedaling up steep trails. Many mountain bikes have some type of shock absorbers or suspension. Not to be confused with:

MBT – The Metropolitan Branch Trail, which runs from Union Station to Silver Spring. Not to be confused with:

MVT – The Mount Vernon Trail, which goes from Rosslyn to Mount Vernon.

LAB – League of American Bicyclists. Created in 1880, the League represents bicyclists in the movement at the national level to create
 safer roads, stronger communities, and a bicycle-friendly America.

LCI – League Cycling Instructor. These instructors attend a rigorous course to be able to teach people to feel secure riding a bicycle, to create a mindset that bikes should be treated as a vehicle, and to ensure bicyclists know how to ride safely and legally.

MAMIL –  Middle Aged Man in Lycra.  Often used negatively to describe riders who emulate professional racers.

CAT 6 – Commute Racing. In an organized bike race, competitors are divided up by skill levels—Categories 1 through 5. “Cat 6-ing” refers to racing (often one-sidedly) in a transportational setting like a commute. Some people enjoy it, others find it annoying. WABA thinks you should have fun on your bike but not be rude to other road or trail users.

SAG – Support and Gear. A SAG vehicle follows a group of cyclists in a race, tour or recreational ride and may carry equipment, food, rider luggage, or mechanics. They may also carry riders who are unable to finish the ride.

TDF – Tour de France. The premier multi stage bicycling race held every July in France. Not be confused with:

TDF – Tour de Fat: The premier beer and bicycle carnival put on by New Belgium Brewing to raise money for local bicycling advocacy.

W&OD – The Washington and Old Dominion Trail. A very popular rail trial that runs between Shirlington, VA and ends in Purcellville, VA.

CCT – Capital Crescent Trail, A popular trail from Georgetown to Bethesda.

C&O – The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Towpath, an unpaved trail from Georgetown to Harper’s Ferry and then on to Cumberland, Maryland. Popular for bike camping.

LBS–  Local bike shop

RT – right turn (usually appears on a cue sheet)

LT – left turn (usually appears on a cue sheet)

UT – U- turn (usually appears on a cue sheet)

n+1 –  A popular mathematical expression among starry-eyed bicyclists, n+1 = the number of bikes you should own, where n = the number of bikes you currently own. Not technically an acronym. Not technically true, either. But still popular.

You are now equipped to carry on conversations with your bikiest friends!


 

 

 
Women & Bicycles is proudly supported by The Potomac Pedalers Touring Club; hosts of the region’s most robust all-level group ride calendar and bike tailgates, Chipotle our delicious dinner party sponsors, and we’re supported by all our friends who donated through the Hains Point 100 ride.

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