The Online Voice of the Bicycle Alliance of Washington

Friday, June 29, 2012

Friday Fun: Bicycle Flash Mob

This musical flash mob at a train station in Brussels, Belgium combines a great song with some fun bicycle choreography.  Happy Friday!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

New federal transportation bill could cut funding for biking and walking projects by up to 60-70 percent


Bicycle Alliance of Washington now turns to protecting popular job-creating safety projects and programs for growing biking and walking in Washington state

Lost in today's historic news of the Supreme Court's Affordable Care Act ruling is the fact that last night at the eleventh hour, conferees from the US House and Senate came to an agreement on a two-year federal transportation bill. On Friday, Congress will vote on this new transportation bill that reverses years of progress on biking and walking policy and cuts by up to 60 to 70 percent funding for local safety projects such as sidewalks, crosswalks, and bike lanes.

The Bicycle Alliance, along with partners nationally are very concerned at the bill's cuts to funding for popular programs nationwide for Safe Routes to School programs, new sidewalks, and bikeways. At best, programs that previously funded walking and biking will see reduced funding from $1.2 billion per year to only $700 million. Unfortunately, because the new umbrella program called Transportation Alternatives now includes options for states and local governments to use these monies on road projects, and because individual states have the option to opt-out of funding for half of each state's allocation, the number for walking and biking could dip as low to as $350 million annually.

"This bill means less money for walking and biking and more competition for that money from roads and regulatory projects," said Bicycle Alliance of Washington statewide policy director Blake Trask. "Not only that, but states can opt-out for up to half of the money. Despite this news, we are optimistic that our leaders from Washington state will continue to invest in these important roadway safety and school programs," said Trask.

The bill's 60-70 percent cut in overall funding could mean that only 1% of the transportation budget goes to walking and biking. Given that 14% of all traffic fatalities occur to those on foot and bike, the latest federal funding package will lead to an even larger disparity in the need for safer streets for all roadway users.

"In Washington state, we are lucky that the state has chosen to fund walking and biking more than most states," said Barbara Culp, executive director of the Bicycle Alliance of Washington. She added, "we look forward to working with elected leaders and the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) to ensure that the state government chooses to opt-in for its allotment of walking and biking monies in the coming years. The Bicycle Alliance will continue to advocate for increased funding and we will continue to collaborate with school districts across the state on the wildly successful and dramatically underfunded Safe Routes to School programs."

Currently 4 out of every 5 school applicants in Washington state do not receive Safe Routes to School program support due to a lack of funding.

To sum up, the transportation bill:
  • Cuts available walking and biking monies by up to two-thirds
  • Eliminates dedicated Safe Routes to School funding
  • Weakens local control by allowing states to opt-out for half of available walking and biking dollars
  • Makes  biking and walking compete with new expensive programs for roads and environmental mitigation in the now conflated Transportation Alternatives program


Contact: Blake Trask
Statewide Policy Director
Bicycle Alliance of Washington

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Stand up for Tacoma's Progress to Grow Biking and Walking

Do you envision Tacoma as a vibrant and active community with bikeways, neighborhood sidewalks, trails and streets designed with all users in mind?  Do you envision a community that encourages its citizens to lead healthy and active lives by implementing its Mobility Master Plan, supporting Safe Routes to School, and making it possible for more people to safely bike and walk around town?

If you answered YES, then the City of Tacoma needs to hear from you now!

The City of Tacoma is holding a series of Community Budget Input Meetings in preparation for the 2013-2014 biennial budget.  Citizen input will help determine how General Fund dollars will be spent and what choices the City makes as it faces a projected budget gap of $60-65 million.

Over the past few years Tacoma has taken some great strides with the development of its award winning Mobility Master Plan.  This year the League of American Bicyclists rewarded Tacoma for its impressive work with a a Bronze level Bicycle-Friendly Community designation.  

City officials need to hear from you that it’s important to build on its good work to create safer streets for walking and biking. 

Please attend one of the following meetings to make your voice heard:

• June 27 – 5:30 p.m. at the Wheelock Library, 3722 N. 26th St.
• June 28 – 6 p.m. at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, 6730 N. 17th St.
• July 9 – 6 p.m. at the Boys & Girls Club, 3875 S. 66th St., Community Room
• July 11 – 6 p.m. at the Moore Library, 215 S. 56th St.
• July 12 – 6 p.m. at the Center at Norpoint, 4818 Nassau Ave.
• July 16 – 6 p.m. at the Snake Lake Nature Center, 1919 S. Tyler St.
• July 18 – 6 p.m. at Stadium High School, 111 N. E St.
• July 19 – 6 p.m. at Lincoln High School, 701 S. 37th St.
• July 23 – 6 p.m. at Baker Middle School, 8320 S. I St.

If you cannot attend a meeting, submit written comments via the following link:

Thanks for your good work in growing biking and walking in Tacoma!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Missing the Bike Commute

Kristi races for the finish line.
Today's post was written by Bicycle Alliance member and volunteer Kristi Moen of Burien. 

I have a confession to make to all of you who are asking me if I’ve been cycling to work lately. I haven’t. 

It’s not what you think. It’s not the rain or the colder-than-average weather. Those aren’t stopping me. Nor is it the traffic or the very occasional rude driver. Nope. It’s me. I’m stopping myself. It’s odd, especially to me because much of my identity is wrapped into cycling. I’ve not been riding to work because – here’s where it gets weird – I’ve been training for triathlons. Sound strange? It does to me, too. But the more I look into training for tris, the more I find that there’s not a lot of value in my downhill, uphill, slow sidewalk, meandering route to work. (Not to mention that I paid someone a lot of money for a tri training plan and it doesn’t have room for commuting.) Sure, there’s always something to gain, but compared to an intense interval workout on my trainer or a long non-stop ride on one of our many regional bike routes, I don’t get the same time/value ratio. And for me, who can get surprisingly competitive with myself, the idea of not taking full advantage of a tri workout kills me. 

It also kills me to not ride to work. Therein lies the dilemma. But my last logic-based motivator, minimizing impact to the environment, is gone with the acquisition of my electric car. And so for now, I drive to work and continue with my very strategic tri workouts.

This is a rambling way of saying that I can’t wait until I can start commuting on my bike again. I see you all out there in the downpours and cold and can barely stand it I’m so envious. So keep it up. Keep riding. Ride more! Enlist your friends. The more of you we drivers see, the more awareness of the need for better safety and infrastructure will come to light. That’s the most important part. More safety equals more riders. And by all means, if you have ideas of how to train while commuting, please let me know.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Take Action Today to Save 20 Years of Progress in Growing Bicycling Nationwide

The federal transportation bill, which has been looking dead in recent weeks, just sprang to life in the last 72 hours. With a June 30 deadline to get a deal done, things are moving fast.

Now we need your help to ensure Congress retains funding for safer streets and Safe Routes to Schools by calling Senator Murray (and Congresswoman Herrera Beutler,if you live in SW Washington), now. 
Safety education for kids are at risk. Call today. / 
Mike Cynecki

The short: late last week US Senate and House leadership decided to make a last-minute push for a bill by June 30, directing Senator Boxer and Representative Mica to go into serious negotiations on the transportation bill. Top on their agenda: working out an agreement on bicycle/pedestrian funding and on environmental streamlining.

Conference negotiations are done in secret and we don't know the specifics of the changes to Cardin-Cochran amendment (this Senate amendment is where Safe Routes and Transportation Enhancements will be preserved in the transportation package), but the rumors are flying and none of them are good for biking and walking. We believe that the local control aspects of Cardin- Cochran may have been compromised, or possibly that state DOTs will have the ability to opt out of the whole or half of the program. 

The good news is that the agreement is not final and because of the fast-approaching deadline the situation is very volatile. Because of the impending June 30 deadline, Conferees will have to finish the bill by Wednesday in order to vote on it by Friday (or Saturday) next week. There is still time for Conferees to weigh in.  

We need your help in making calls now.

One of our key federal partners, America Bikes, has set up a helpful tracking service with talking points, numbers, etc to get folks started.Simply enter your info, click on the button next to Senator Murray (and Herrera Beutler, if she represents you) and get started making your call.

From Dusk 'til Dawn: Good Times at the 2012 Nine to Five All-Night Bicycle Scavenger Hunt

photos by the author except as noted.
                                James Grindle photo
The fourth annual Nine To Five All-Night Bicycle Scavenger Hunt had an auspicious beginning as declared by a double rainbow that appeared when the sky cleared after some rain drops and intimidating clouds. This ride, organized by Go Means Go began and ended at Gasworks Park in Wallingford. 
    Only a piece of the double rainbow that showed up as the ride started (looking south from Gasworks)
                            Admiring the awe-inspring sky (looking East from Gasworks)

                               Participants receive final instructions before the ride starts
This was my first time participating in the Nine to Five, and the first time that I’ve stayed up until dawn in more than a decade.
The ride was a blast. There were about 75 participants, some solo riders and others organized into teams of up to five riders. I teamed up with Benjamin Rainbow of Back Alley Bike Repair and James Grindle to compete in the scavenger hunt.

                               And we're off! (James Grindle Photo)
The challenges were issued on three manifests which were distributed progressively through the night; participants received one at the start and the second at midnight and the third at 2:30AM. 
    Midnight meetup at the Collonade

    2:30 AM meetup at Ly's Donuts on 45th and Roosevelt
Riders earned points by:  1.) collecting items specified on the manifest,2.)fullfilling photo opportunities from the manifest, and/or 3.) completing “Shoot for the Moon” challenges by riding to farther flung locations to find a cryptic message on a sticker stuck to a sign post.
Our team of three completed all three shoot for the moon challenges by assigning one to each teammate, this way we each got to put on some miles. I made a fifteen-minute sprint to Mercer Island from Pioneer Square at about 1:30 AM and was able to make it back to the U-District for the 2:30 rendezvous. To complete the other two shoot for the moon challenges, Ben rode to West Seattle and James rode to Meadowbrook Pond. The photo opportunities provided some of the most fun, forcing participants to have spontaneous interactions with strangers. For example we had to pump gas for a stranger. These guys were Dick’s Drive-In employees getting off the late shift and were happy to let us pump their gas.
                                 Ben pumping gas for a couple of Dick's employees
                                 the author at Gasworks, 5AM bike lift (Ben Rainbow photo)
      Dawn at Gasworks! (James Grindle photo) 

    Josh pitching the tent at the finish for 5 extra points. Ben's in a daze for zero points. (James Grindle Photo)

    The team is ready for some sleep after earning 315 points

Fun was had by all participants except for a few who had mechanical failures or had their bike stolen during the hunt! I managed to get 5 hours of sleep on Sunday morning and only had to cut short my work day on Monday by a couple of hours.
    Greg Mertzlufft addressing the group from the podium ten hours after registration opened.

    The trophy and other prizes
The winning team accepts their trophy!

So just days later and it’s back to regular daily life, but the 2013 Nine to Five is already beckoning.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Friday Fun: Zoobomb!

If you happen to be in Portland on a Sunday evening and in need of an adrenaline rush, grab your bike, helmet, lights and other protective gear, and hop the light rail to Washington Park Zoo, then take the elevator to the top.  There you can join fellow cyclists--and maybe some skaters and longboarders--for an exhilarating Zoobomb!

Zoobombing involves riding bikes (or skates or skateboards) as fast as you can down West Hills.  This event has been happening regardless of weather every Sunday evening since 2002 and is firmly ensconced in Portland's bike culture.  Do a search on YouTube and you'll find tons of videos of this event.  Sample one below.

Willie Weir and Kat Marriner recounted their zoobomb experience in a series of blurbs on their blog, Yellow Tent Adventures.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

In Lieu of Birthday Gifts, Celebrate Your Favorite Non-Profit!

Ever think of throwing a birthday party and designating a non-profit or charity as the recipient of gifts your friends and family want to bestow upon you? That's what Michelle LeSourd, new Bicycle Alliance member, decided to do when she celebrated her birthday earlier this month.

"I wanted to bring people together to commemorate a major milestone in my life, my 50th birthday, but wanted to discourage them from buying me gifts. So instead, I decided to ask them to donate to a specific organization, letting them know that it was completely voluntary. The Bicycle Alliance of Washington promotes two of my favorite causes: healthy lifestyles and environmental awareness."

Michelle asked her friend Jack Hilovsky (new Fund Development Manager) to bring a donation jar and printed material to share with the party revelers. She e-mailed her guests ahead of time letting them know about her preferred charity and made an announcement during the party. While Michelle jammed on guitar with a band comprised of some of her siblings and nephews, guests wrote checks and deposited cash in the jar. By the end of the night, contributions totaled $155.

Consider contacting the Bicycle Alliance of Washington during the upcoming months if you have a birthday and want to celebrate the good work of your favorite non-profit (we hope that it's us!!). We're happy to send a representative to give a short speech briefing guests on our mission, or mail to you some of our promotional materials, including our newsletter, cycling stickers, and bike maps.

Contact Jack Hilovsky, Fund Development and Membership Manager, for further details and inspiration. He can be reached at, or call 206-224-9252, Ext 306.

Going Strong at 25

When a dozen Seattle cyclists gathered in the fall of 1987 to create a new organization, email, Facebook, Twitter, and blogs were the realm of science fiction and fantasy. Those cyclists came together as the Northwest Bicycle Foundation and their vision was a 24/7 advocacy organization with “more people bicycling more often.”

To say that the world has changed drastically in the last 25 years would be a complete understatement. Indeed, many more people are biking, and millions of dollars are spent on bicycle facilities from trails to safe routes to school to cycle tracks. Today that fledgling group from 1987 is called Bicycle Alliance of Washington and we have grown from a few dozen Seattle advocates to an army of thousands across Washington – focused on growing bicycling statewide.

And what a quarter century it has been as we’ve grown from an attic office with a part time executive to our new headquarters in Pioneer Square with statewide program managers, and newly hired policy director and development manager. Notable achievements include:

  • Passage of the Cooper Jones Act. Prompted by the death of Cooper Jones in Spokane, the Bicycle Alliance worked feverously with Cooper’s parents David and Martha Jones to pass this bill. It requires mandatory driver’s license retesting for drivers involved in fatal or serious injury collisions and created grant funding administered by the Washington Traffic Safety Commission . 
  • Growing Safe Routes to School. In 2008, we launched SRTS as a pilot project in three schools and today 31 school districts around the state are offering bike safety education to students. This program has grown from $1,000,000 appropriation for infrastructure changes, to upwards of $10 million. 
  • Creating the Share the Road license plate. With financial backing from life member Don Martin, we jumped through many hoops to be granted a Share the Road specialty license plate. Plate sales help fund bicycle safety education statewide and over 4765 plates have been sold to date. Use this link to purchase one today!
  • Incorporating biking and walking info into motorist education. The Bicycle Alliance, assisted by super-volunteer Brian Faller, helped rewrite the Department of Licensing driver’s education manual bicycle/walking subsection which now includes test questions on the license exam. Share the Road license plate funds were used create an interactive curriculum for driver’s education courses that educates young drivers. 
  • Making texting and hand held cell phone use while driving a primary offense. Working with the Distracted Driver’s Task Force, we helped to pass the Text-Talk-Ticket bill.
  • Local area advocates are the key to our success. Beginning in 1993, we conducted six workshops around the state to teach bicyclists to be effective advocates and prepare them to serve on bike boards and committees. Our advocacy outreach was expanded in 2010 with a grant from the Alliance for Biking and Walking which created a series of community workshops we call Hub & Spoke: Growing Bicycling in Your Community.
To celebrate our 25th anniversary, we’re planning a fall anniversary celebration where we’ll launch our new website and unveil our new logo. You’ll get a chance to meet our new executive director, and say goodbye to outgoing ED Barbara Culp. Stay tuned for details!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

OSPI Safe Routes to School Summer Institutes

OSPI Safe Routes to School 

Summer Institutes

Pre-Institute– August 9th
Institute – August 10th
Pre-Institute – August 16th
Institute – August 17th

Come take part in this opportunity to share and learn about creating safe routes to school in Washington State.

The Summer Institutes are offered to participants in the SRTS Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Education grant 2010-2012, as well as educators and individuals interested in the Safe Routes to School. The Institute will provide an opportunity for teachers, volunteers, and interested individuals to attend sessions on bike and pedestrian safety education, encouragement and engineering best practices, and many other topics.

Pre-Institute:  Come to this day if you are… 
  • New to Safe Routes to School and want an overview of the SRTS Bicycle & Pedestrian Safety Education Curriculum so you can implement the program next fall or include it in future SRTS grant proposals 
  • Familiar with Safe Routes to School and want to gain hands-on skills on specific topics (such as bike handling skills, walking audits, telling your story about Safe Routes to School, etc).
Institute:  Everyone should come to this day to share experiences, develop new skills, and learn about best practices around the state of Washington.

The Summer Institutes are free to attend but registration is required. Teachers can receive at least 8 clock hours free through OSPI if you register in advance.



QUESTIONS: Seth Schromen-Wawrin (Safe Routes to School Project Coordinator, Bicycle Alliance of Washington)

Summer Institutes Supported by:
Bicycle Alliance of Washington
Cascade Bicycle Club – Education Foundation
Feet First
King County Food and Fitness Initiative
Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction
Spokane Regional Health District
Washington Department of Transportation

Safe Routes to School Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Education Grant 2010-2012

funded to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction by the Washington State Department of Transportation

Friday, June 15, 2012

Friday Fun: Way Back Home

Danny MacAskill is an amazing bike handler and I never tire of watching of this video. All that Scottish landscape is bonus.  Happy Friday!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Say hello to Elliott Bangs

Please welcome Elliott Bangs, who has joined the Bicycle Alliance staff as our Office and Membership Manager.  He is a lifelong resident of Puget Sound and previously served as the Membership and IT Coordinator at CityClub, a Seattle nonprofit which promotes civic engagement.

Elliott is delighted to be part of an organization that promotes the growth of bicycling in Washington.  He recently returned from a six-month, 6000-mile solo bicycle tour from Seattle to the Panama Canal.

"I dreamed of taking such a trip since the summer of 2006, when I first toured on the Pacific Coast.  That was the summer I truly fell in love with the bicycle," recalled Elliott.  "Having crossed the deserts of Mexico and the seemingly-endless mountain ranges of Guatemala, my daily cross-town commute might still be my proudest cycling accomplishment," he added.

When not at work, pedaling, eating or sleeping, Elliott is aspiring to be a fiction writer.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Green Lane Project to increase safety and put motorists, bicyclists at ease Barnes
US Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood recently announced the launching of Bikes Belong's Green Lane Project--a pilot project to support the development of world-class bicycle facility networks in six cities:  Austin, Chicago, Memphis, Portland (OR), San Francisco, and Washington, DC.

According to Bikes Belong
Green lanes are dedicated, inviting spaces for people on bikes in the roadway, protected by curbs, planters, posts or parked cars. The goal of the Green Lane Project is to support the selected cities in their efforts to develop and install these kinds of facilities. Recent studies have demonstrated their benefits nationwide. In Washington, D.C., bicycle volume tripled after protected lanes were installed. In Portland, Ore., more than 70 percent of survey respondents said bicycling is easier and safer with these dedicated lanes, while motorists said the facilities did not make driving any slower or less convenient.
Read Ray LaHood's blog post:

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Hub and Spoke is Returning to Vancouver

Bicycle Alliance of Washington is returning to Vancouver with another Hub and Spoke event!  This time we’ve partnered with Bike Clark County to present a half-day workshop to discuss techniques and opportunities to grow bicycling in Vancouver and surrounding communities.
Hub and Spoke: Vancouver
Growing Bicycling in Your Community
June 21, 2012, 12:00-4:45pm
Public Service Center, 6th floor, Hearing Room
1300 Franklin Street, Vancouver

In this interactive workshop, attendees will examine models from around the state and nationally, discuss opportunities to promote safety, expand Safe Routes to Schools, and learn how to engage your community to make riding a bike easier for everyone. discuss opportunities to promote safety and economic development locally, and develop tools for engaging with local and state governments to make riding a bike easier in their community.  We’ll also take a short bike tour, so be sure to bring your bike!

There is no charge for the workshop but space is limited, so please register using our online registration form.  Light refreshments will be provided.  The workshop will be followed by a Hub and Spoke Happy Hour.

Can’t attend the workshop but still interested in getting the lowdown on what’s happening for bicycling?  Join us for a post-workshop happy hour which will include a discussion with state and local advocates.  No RSVP is necessary for the Happy Hour.  Celebrate Bike to Work Week with us!

Hub and Spoke Social Hour
5-7 pm at Niche Wine Bar
1013 Main Street, Vancouver

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

National Bike Challenge off to a Good Start

Thanks to Scott Chilberg for assisting with this post.

May – Bike Month -- kicked off the 2012 Get Up and Ride National Bike Challenge, a free nationwide competition that encourages biking as a primary form of transportation and recreation. The Challenge, which runs through August, gives individuals and teams the opportunity to log their miles and compete for prizes. This is the Challenge’s debut year and the Bicycle Alliance, always seeking ways to grow bike ridership, was excited to step up as state representative.

“Not all of our communities hold Bike to Work events,” stated Bicycle Alliance ED Barbara Culp.  “This is an opportunity for all Washington bike riders to get involved with an organized event that tracks their miles and qualifies them for prizes. For bicyclists who are signed up for local Bike to Work events, this is an incentive to keep their bike momentum going throughout the summer.”

We had 480 Washington bicyclists registered for the first month of the Challenge. Bike riders from Port Angeles to Clarkston are biking to work, to the store and for fun.  Nationally, nearly 26,000 riders were signed up for the Challenge in May. 

Each month, riders’ miles will qualify them for prize drawings both nationally and locally.  Alchemy Goods of Seattle has generously donated some of their products as prizes.  Congratulations to Glen Buhlmann and Dave Braun.  They were the winners of our local prize drawing for May.

The Challenge runs through the end of August so it’s not too late to sign up.  Go to to register.