Three months ago, I took a job as the Arlington PAL ambassador coordinator. Since then I have reminded more people than I can possibly count to be more Predictable, Alert, and Lawful on our roadways. This message is simple. We’re asking people to practice common courtesy and awareness when they are walking, driving and biking on the streets of Arlington.
When I first started, I assumed my work would be as simple as biking around at a leisurely pace, smiling, waving, and being nice to people. But it turned out to take an incredible amount of self awareness. I learned to really interact and connect with people. This work and my regular everyday experiences have had a profound impact on me.
I learned that we have constant opportunities to have positive interactions with people, and that sharing our personal stories is the most reliable way to build empathy and understanding.
It amazed me to realize that before this job I was biking inside of my own bubble. I didn’t really interact with people and didn’t know what I was missing. When I started to bike around and actively engage with my community, I had a totally different experience. The streets of Arlington are crowded, crowded with our neighbors and community members doing what they need to do to get around town.
I went from just seeing a car in front of me or a bicyclist beside me, to seeing actual people. I began to really feel connected to people- and every one of these people presented an opportunity to share the PAL message and a smile.
This human connectedness is what the PAL program is all about. We’re all neighbors, we’re all going in the same direction, and we all just want to get home safely.
We have a fun Block Party next week! Join and help us remind folks to be a little more Predictable, Alert, and Lawful! Click here
to learn more.
Join us for our monthly Arlington PAL (Predictable, Alert, Lawful!) Ambassador Pizza Party tonight at BikeArlington’s Office. This is your monthly opportunity to meet other volunteer ambassadors and learn how the work of PAL is changing roadway culture in Arlington.
We’ll scheme, craft, and prepare for this month’s Block Party and enjoy some pizza and beverages! It’s free and lots of fun.
for more information and to RSVP.
Thursday, August 20,
6:30pm to 8:30pm
1501 Wilson Blvd, Suite 1100
Arlington, VA 22209
Looking forward to seeing you there,
WABA’s working with BikeArlington to recruit a community of volunteers to inspire more Predictable, Alert, and Lawful road culture in Arlington County. Bike billboards, pizza nights, and block parties — all on your commute home. Click here for more information on the PAL Ambassadors and join us at our next event!
We know you love bikes. If you’re like us, you’ve probably spent some time daydreaming about how to show that love to your community—
Maybe you’ve brainstormed slogans. Maybe you’ve imagined cheery chalk messages to write in bike lanes. Maybe you’ve coined a clever bumper sticker for your fender or a patch for your pannier.
Maybe we’ve got the perfect volunteer gig for you.
Pete shows off the PAL trailer.
Would you hold a homemade sign? Would you recruit your fellow bike-lovers to brandish them? Would you stand on a Streetcorner exclaiming “Hello everyone! Be a PAL! A Predictable, Alert, Lawful Road-user!”?
Would you consider being an awesome volunteer for an awesome new program?
and WABA are putting volunteer PAL Ambassadors on the streets across Arlington county, and we want you!
What’s a PAL Ambassador?
Well, you are! PAL Ambassadors are folks who care about their community and are passionate about making our streets safer. In fact, PAL Ambassadors are the driving force behind our initiative to change the culture on our roadways. They’ll be the smiling faces behind the handlebars. They’ll stress the importance of being more predictable, more alert, and more lawful. And they’ll lead eye-catching and interactive campaigns to improve roadway behavior, etiquette, and interactions- especially interactions between drivers and bicyclists.
Become a PAL Ambassador! There are four ways to get involved:
- Agree to be a PAL; a more predictable, alert, lawful road user.
- Come to a monthly block party! We’ll select a message, get creative, and take to the streets at an Arlington intersection to promote our message, and have some fun.
- Join us at our monthly PAL Pizza Party to hang out, brainstorm, and prepare for our next event.
- Or PAL around with us! Join our coordinator for a bike ride and pull the PAL bike trailer.
The best way to learn more and find out where and when we’ll be meeting is to join our Facebook group. Click here
to join the conversation!
Pete shows off the PAL trailer.
BikeArlington launched the PAL campaign 2 years ago with the strong sentiment that no matter who we are or how we choose to get around town, our roadways depend on a social contract that everyone is following the rules and paying attention. Whether we’re walking, driving, or biking we rely on our fellow road-users to be PALs; Predictable. Alert. Lawful.
The mission of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association is to create a healthy, more livable region by promoting bicycling for fun, fitness, and affordable transportation; advocating for better bicycling conditions and transportation choices for a healthier environment; and educating children, adults, and motorists about safe bicycling.
Starting next week we’re partnering up with BikeArlington to launch a new bike ambassador program.
We can’t give full details yet, but you can expect energized outreach campaigns in Arlington to encourage road-users to be predictable, alert, and lawful, and improve interactions between pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers.
Much like the D.C. bike ambassadors we’ll have rolling billboards, clear messaging, and streetcorner outreach. We’ll have a solid community of volunteers and that’s where we’ll need your help.
Keep your eye out for our billboards and more information next week!
Last month, BikeArlington premiered BikeSwell – Smart Movement in Arlington, Virginia
at Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse. The 33-minute documentary received a standing ovation from a packed house. You can now watch it online here
explores Arlington’s journey to become a premier bike-friendly community, including the success, challenges, partnerships, and conflicts necessary to that process. Local companies Gripped Films
and Haik Music
produced the film.
Our friends at BikeArlington say that BikeSwell’s highlights include:
- Why Arlington is working so hard on accommodating bicycles, from County Board Chairman Walter Tejada and transportation planning staff
- What Arlington can do to take it to the next level, from League of American Bicyclists President Andy Clarke
- Man-on-the-street interviews with drivers in Arlington County to find out what they really think about sharing the road with bikes.
- The future bike riders of Arlington learning and practicing bike skills in elementary school.
Tickets to the premier of BikeSwell – Smart Movement in Arlington, Virginia are going fast! Get yours today to see this documentary featuring local bike-advocacy rockstars and the triumphs and tribulations of making Arlington a premiere bike-friendly community.
The screening is next Thurs., Oct. 10 from 7-9 p.m. at Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse. RSVP here. Tickets are free, but a $5 donation to the benefitting nonprofit organization, Phoenix BIkes, is strongly suggested.
Thanks to the Arlington Bicycle Advisory Committee, the feature presentation will be followed by a panel discussion so you can learn more from some of the people involved in Arlington’s “smart movement.” There will also be prizes raffled off, donated by BikeArlington, the League of American Bicyclists, WABA, and New Belgium Brewery. Phoenix Bikes has generously donated a bike that will be raffled off as the grand prize!
Last Sunday, WABA’s Women & Bicycles outreach program
hosted a Mother’s Day ride in affiliation with BikeArlington
and Black Women Bike DC
. Convoys beginning in Silver Spring, Rosslyn, and D.C. met at Hains Point for a picnic and a few easy laps. The ride coincided with Cyclofemme
‘s Global Women’s Cycling Day.
Thanks, Honest Tea, for the Honest Tea
Skirts were encouraged.
Approaching from Arlington
See more photos here
. Did you take photos on Sunday? Add them to our Flickr pool!