Kidical Mass, the national movement to organize safe, fun bike riding for families on city streets, will come to Washington DC for the first time this April. On Saturday, April 23, families will gather near Eastern Market Station in Washington DC for a bike decorating party before riding through the streets of DC’s historic Capitol Hill neighborhood and ending with brunch at the Argonaut Tavern, a favorite restaurant among local families.
Participants can join the festivities starting at 10:00 am on Saturday, April 23, 2011 at 8th & D Streets SE, opposite Eastern Market Station on the north side of Pennsylvania Avenue SE. Light refreshments provided by local businesses will be served, and children will have an opportunity to decorate their bikes, bike seats or trailers using craft materials donated by SCRAP-dc. Young children using tricycles or push bikes who are unable to join the main ride are welcome to participate in this part of the event. At approximately 11:00 am, riders will depart on a short (2-3 mile) ride through Capitol Hill using quiet streets and bike lanes before ending at the Argonaut for brunch.
The Kidical Mass movement was born in April of 2008 in Eugene, Oregon. Shane Rhodes, the Safe Routes to School coordinator of a local school district, wanted to get more kids and families excited about riding. In an early-morning brainstorm, Rhodes christened his event “Kidical Mass.” Three years later, regular Kidical Mass rides are being held in cities across the United States and around the world. A 15-year veteran of the bike advocacy world, Rhodes says “The bike movement has grown up, and now it has kids!”
Megan Odett, a DC resident who regularly bikes her toddler to daycare in Hyattsville, MD, was inspired by Rhodes’ example. Encouraged by the increasing number of families cycling with children in DC, Odett has worked with the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA), BicycleSPACE, and the Capitol Hill Association of Merchants and Professionals (CHAMPS) to bring Kidical Mass to DC. Odett points to the success of the Capital Bikeshare system and the popularity of the 15th Street cycle track as evidence that Washington DC is becoming a bike-friendly city. She says, “I love riding around DC with my kid. I hope this ride will show families that biking with children is easy, fun and safe.”
More details about the inaugural ride on April 23 are available through the Kidical Mass DC Facebook group, the website at KidicalMassDC.blogspot.com, and @KidicalMassDC on Twitter. Subsequent monthly rides will be announced online. Participants can sign up for the event by emailing KidicalMassDC@gmail.com.
Watching those kids bang their fists on the hoods of cars is going to be adorable. What's that? Oh, never mind.
Flickr is no longer supporting typepad. Grrr. Another reason I might have to migrate to one of the other services.
From the comments, Montgomery County Council Member Roger Berliner said, when talking about charging for Saturday parking in county lots and garages in Bethesda and why it might be good for business, "Because some people won't just hog a space all day, take their bike, go on the Capital Crescent Trail." I agree. I'm sure there are people who do that. Because that's something people do when parking is free. Charging for parking makes biking a better value. Maybe those who do that (and I wonder if CCCT has any idea how people arrive at the trail) will bike there instead or maybe some metered spaces can be set up near the trail, with money going to snow plowing.
An 8-foot wide paved bike path on River Road in Potomac, MD from River Oaks Lane to Norton Road should begin construction this spring. This is the first section of the project. "A public meeting on the second segment — an 8-foot wide bike path from Riverwood Drive to River Oaks Lane — is planned for 7 to 9 p.m. April 7 at Potomac Elementary School, 10311 River Road."
It's a year late, but the Cedar Lane bridge over Rock Creek in Kensington is going to close for a month starting in June to be rebuilt and put on a diet. "Craig Fuss, the county's Bridge Program Manager, said the renovated bridge will have three lanes instead of four, removing a southbound lane in exchange for a pedestrian and bicycle path." Naturally, not everyone is excited about the diet. "Martin Cullmen, a resident of nearby Parkhill Drive, said removing a traffic lane will exacerbate the already heavy traffic along Cedar Lane. 'I like sidewalks, but Cedar [Lane] becomes a busy road for people coming home,' he said. 'It needs to get bigger, not smaller.'" Actually it's not getting smaller, it's just that car space is being given to bikes and pedestrians. But I guess "people" only come home in the roadway.
Speaking of bridges with sidepaths, Glebe Road over Arlington Blvd in Arlington County is scheduled to be rebuilt starting this summer. When it's done it will go from this, to what is seen in the rendering below. That will include a 17-foot shared use path on one side and an 11-foot sidewalk on the other. It will be done in August 2012.
Law enforcement and public officials gathered yesterday to kick off the Street Smart Campaign. In addition to warning pedestrians, cyclists and drivers that those who don’t obey traffic laws will be targeted and ticketed by police (for the next couple of weeks at least) they also released some data on crashes which are up for cyclists and pedestrians.
[I've had this data for awhile and I'm actively working on a post about it, but it's going slow]. Allison Klein's story in the Post often combines cyclists and pedestrians making it hard to tell how things are going for just cyclists, and even though she writes that
Last year, there were 436 bike vs. vehicle crashes in the District that were serious enough for police to respond to the accident, according to city data.
Part of the reason for the increase in people being hit might be that there has been a 68 percent jump in cyclists in the city over the past three years, officials said.
Which is all true, but she fails to report on how many crashes there were before 2010. Here are those numbers for several of the last few years.
Last month we attended the DC Council oversight hearing on pedestrian and bicycle enforcement, and needless to say, we learned a lot. But what stood out for us was that there was so much more that we needed to know–about how and where bike crashes happened in the region and more detailed information about the circumstances both during and after the crash.
Coincidentally, there was a very serious crash yesterday morning at 2nd and Constitution, NW that left one adult male cyclist in "life-threatening" condition. Let's hope he pulls through.
State Sen. Brian Frosh, a Montgomery County Democrat, isn't sure he's going to bring the Manslaughter by Vehicle bill up for a vote. "To Frosh, that new standard could be applied to the mother who fatally hits a bicyclist when she takes a glance at a crying child in the back seat of her minivan." If a glance is all that it takes, she was probably doing something else wrong, but this probably isn't a high enough level for ‘substantial negligence’. [I have a child. He cries in the back seat. Glancing does no good]. I'm not saying that prison is the right place for this hypothetical mother, but there is nowhere else in life that we allow people to kill so carelessly and with so little consequence than in driving. If he's your state senator, call his office and let him know your thoughts.
10,000 feet of climbing in 100 miles. Oh did I mention this is in Arlington County?
While on the Arlington county site, I found that in February ADOT staff submitted comments to VDOT on the installation of two bicycle shelters including bicycle racks at Metro stations and that a concept plan for South Hayes Street includes "bicycle amenities" though the PDF doesn't say what they are (painted bike lanes?). The South Hayes plan is scheduled to begin this year or next (mostly it seems to have environmental and pedestrian based improvements - still a cool project).
Any day now, if the schedule at this site is correct, Arlignton County should break ground on a project to improve the highway interchange at Route 50, Courthouse Rd, and 10th St. In addition, this project aspires to improve the bicycle/pedestrian path that runs through the intersection (often as simply a sidewalk).
According the the Arlington County site, this project will include a new trail along the south side of Arlington Boulevard (US 50) from N. Pershing to Rolfe Street. The south side would be the Fort Myer side, but based on the description and photos, I think that's a mistake. I think they mean the north side (and the west side). Which means the project will improve the existing path/sidewalk.Update:As noted in the comments, this project includes a new trail on the south/east side AND an improved trail on the north/west side. Both trails will be 10' wide.
A bicycle trail will also be added eastbound on Arlington Boulevard from Pershing Drive to Rolfe Street. The existing trail on the westbound side will be relocated to parallel the C-D road and will be extended under the 10th Street bridge.
The trail currently stops at Courthouse and does not go under 10th. This project will connect it to the existing Arlingtion Blvd Trail that currently ends at Pershing. There are a lot of goodies for cyclists and pedestrians in this project. I don't know how in snuck past me for so long.
As you can see in the image below, it looks like the Courthouse road underpass will have the trail widened, raised above the road, separated with a guardrail and will include grass borders. Not bad.
The next rendering shows the trail north of the spot above. The trail looks wider than the current one, and it appears to have its own lighting.
According to the schedule, construction was to begin in March and take 30 months. (Helmet tip). Update: VDOT has it starting in April and ending in October 2011.
Cyclists in Virginia can start running red lights in July. But only after coming to a complete stop at a red light and waiting for 120 seconds or two cycles of the light. This is to deal with false negatives at induction loops. They should really have a marking that let's you know where there is one (anyone know of any in NoVa?).
WABA is looking for stories from cyclists who were in a crash and were denied recovery. "We want to begin chipping away at that standard and making the roadways fairer, where those at fault must pay a fair percentage for the harm they cause. But we need the real, concrete stories to make the case. To tell us your story leave a comment, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us at 202.518.0524"
Entrepreneurship along trails. It's funny he should mention the Met Branch trail. Where there are now gravel piles and construction equipment, there were plans for park space and trailside development (bike store, ice cream etc...).
Good news: GWU caught a professional bike theif. Bad news: It's the fourth time they've caught him. (But this time, they mean it).
DDOT is having an open house for the Connecticut Avenue streetscape project on Thrusday night. I think this project mostly includes a landscaped median between H and Dupont Circle (similar to what's between K and L), but it should also include more bike parking (if you go, bring that up).
House Bill 363 (Manslaughter by Vehicle or Vessel, criminal negligence) moves to the Senate after unanimously passing the House last week and three DC-area state senators on the committee that will hear it are still undecided.
According to advocates for the bill, Senators Jamie Raskin (D-Montgomery) (see map) and Victor Ramirez (D-Prince Georges) (see map) are still undecided about whether to support the proposed law.
The chairman of the committee, Brian Frosh, is a Montgomery County senator is also undecided, so it would be a good idea to contact him if you're from his district.
The point of the bill is to close a legal loophole that allows sober drivers to kill due to negligence and walk away with just a ticket. This is what happened in the Curtis Leymeister crash, where the driver cleared ice from only a small area of her windshield, became distracted by something in her lap, and killed Leymeister. She got a $250 ticket.
to convict a sober driver of vehicular manslaughter requires proving that the driver knew that he or she might kill someone. And that is almost always impossible to prove.
If the Senate passes the bill as well, Maryland will join the majority of states in the nation by closing the loophole
Unless Senators hear from their constituents, time may run out before the Committee even considers the bill. Because email is ineffective this late in the session, if you live in either of these two districts, I suggest that you call Senator Ramirez (301-858-3745 and 1-800-492-7122 x3745) or Senator Raskin (301- 858-3634 and 1-800-492-7122 x3634). Even if the Senator is not in, discussing the issue with his staff is useful. If you gain any insights about how they view the issue, please let us know.
The bill has a lot of support. Both WABA and AAA support the bill, as does the Senate Minority leader (R) and the Governor (D) - that's bipartisan. It's not just cyclists who are killed without justice, it's pedestrians, motorcyclists and other motorists (so, pretty much everyone).
The Baltimore Sun came out in support of the bill, but cautioned that the bill will not do much to make the streets safer.
While enacting a misdemeanor manslaughter law makes sense and follows the modern penal code used by many other states, it alone won't improve bike safety. The possibility that a negligent motorist might face a stiffer penalty than traffic court advances the cause of justice, but it is unlikely by itself to make drivers more cognizant of bicyclists, and that is what it will take to make our roads safer.
Education and publicity are the most effective tools we have. One idea, offered up by the cycling group Bike Maryland, is for the state motor vehicle administration to include a sheet in driver's license renewal forms that would spell out how to safely pass cyclists, reminding drivers to give cyclists at least three feet of clearance when passing (in accordance to a state law passed last year) and not to drive, park or stop in designated bike lanes. Putting more signage on roadways heavily used by cyclists is another smart suggestion. Training police officers on the rights of cyclists is yet another.
This is a two-way street, and cyclists have to do their part by following the rules of the road, including obeying traffic signals, giving clear hand signals, wearing bright clothing and, when riding after dark, and equipping their bikes with strong lights. Veteran cyclists advise fellow riders to assume that they are invisible to cars and to make plans to react to motorists' movements.