The 480-mile Virginia Mountain Bike Trail has been featured in The Washington Post.

Three Virginia Legislators Receive Bicycling Friendly Awards

Three Virginia legislators have been given VBF’s Bicycling Friendly Award for their efforts during the 2014 session of the Virginia General Assembly.

Bud Vye and Senator Reeves

Senator Reeves and Bud Vye

Senator Bryce Reeves, (R-Spotsylvania) was the Chief Patron of SB 97, the Three Foot Passing bill, which was recently signed into law by Governor Terry McAuliffe. The law goes into effect on July 1.

Also recognized for their support of pro-bike legislation were Delegate Barbara Comstock (R-Fairfax/ Loudoun) who sponsored the following too closely legislation, HB 82…

Delegate Barbara Comstock Receiving her Award

Delegate Barbara Comstock Receiving her Award

…and Senator Chap Petersen (D- Fairfax)  who sponsored the anti-dooring bill (SB 225).

Senator Petersen Receiving Award from Champe Burnley

Senator Chap Petersen Receiving Award from Champe Burnley

Despite great efforts to get Petersen and Comstock’s  legislation through, both bills were defeated.

A big thanks to these legislators who supported our efforts to make Virginia a more friendly place to ride bikes.

Richmond Ride Center Named Bell-Built Grant Finalist

Richmond Regional Ride Center is a Bell-Built Grant finalist.

IMBA reports:

Bell Bike Helmets and the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) have announced the 12 finalists for the 2014 Bell Built Grants: $100,000 in technical assistance money put up by Bell for three bike projects to be built in 2014 by IMBA Trail Solutions. Public voting to choose the winners begins April 7 and ends May 18, with winners announced May 19.

Stand by to cast your vote!   [click to continue…]

Sustainable Transportation Summit Thurs. 3/27 in Roanoke

REGISTRATION DEADLINE FOR THE CONFERENCE IS MARCH 25th.

Leaders Gather to Share Transportation Best Practices

WHAT –  On Thursday, March 27th, from 8:00 to 4:00, The Cabell Brand Center and RIDE Solutions will host the first annual Sustainable Transportation Summit at Virginia Tech School of Medicine and Research Institute.  The all-day summit will provide a broad educational program that will touch on the economic, environmental, and social value of implementing and encouraging transportation choice in the region.  Keynote speakers include Nicholas Donohue, Virginia Deputy Secretary of Transportation, and Walter Kulash, Livable Transportation Movement.  The program will be valuable to planners, transportation professionals, elected officials, business leaders, public health officials and community advocates. Presentations will offer best practices, incentives, and success stories from within and outside the Roanoke Valley to show how investments in sustainable mobility options can improve a region’s vitality and economic competitiveness.

CONFERENCE HOSTS – The Cabell Brand Center for Global Poverty and Resource Sustainability Studies is a non-profit organization founding in 1987, and has been providing education and outreach for over 25 years.  Ride Solutions provides alternative transportation options – ridesharing (carpooling and vanpooling), biking, public transit, walking, and guaranteed ride home services – to residents living within the greater New River and Roanoke Valleys and Region 2000 regions of southwestern Virginia. For more information, go to:http://ridesolutions.org

REGISTRATION – For more information and to register for the Sustainable Transportation Summit, please visit the Cabell Brand Center website at: www.cabellbrandcenter.org

COST – Registration is $25 and includes a continental breakfast and lunch featuring locally sourced foods and beverages.

CONTACT – Questions?  Write Jeremy Holmes of RIDE Solutions at jholmes@rvarc.org

Bedford County Hit & Run Suspect Arrested

26 year old Michael Jenkins has been arrested and charged with felony hit and run for fleeing the scene of the crash that killed bicyclist Sean M. McQuaid on Rt. 122 near Rt. 24, around 8:30pm Friday, March 21. Two hours later, firefighters responded to a call about a house and truck on fire at Jenkins’ home, where he may have been trying to burn the evidence.

From WBDJ:

When firefighters arrived at the Snowberry Hill home a little after 10:20 p.m. Friday, they found Jenkins’ pickup truck on fire in the driveway. The house was not on fire.

As firefighters tried to put the truck fire out, Jenkins allegedly started pushing firefighters and throwing objects at their vehicles.

He is charged with being intoxicated in public, felony assault on a firefighter, and maliciously throwing missiles at an occupied vehicle. The Bedford County Sheriff’s Office believes the truck was intentionally set on fire.

Jenkins has also been charged with felony hit-and-run for an accident that killed 53-year-old Sean McQuaid about two hours before the truck fire was reported. Investigators say McQuaid was riding his bike south on Route 122 near Route 24 on Friday night around 8:30 p.m. when he was hit by a car. Investigators say Jenkins left the scene of the accident.

Anyone with information about the hit-and-run incident is asked to call Virginia State Police at 1-800-542-5959.

Information Sought: Fatal Bedford County Hit & Run

Update: a suspect, Michael Jenkins, has been arrested.


View Larger Map

A bicyclist has died following a hit and run crash Friday evening, Mar. 21 in Bedford County. If you or anyone you know were in the area of Moneta Rd. and Stewartsville Rd. at around 8:30pm, and have any information that may pertain to this crash, especially about a late model Ford Edge SUV, please contact the State Police.

From WDBJ:

“Sean M. McQuaid, age 53, of Cape Canaveral, Florida was traveling southbound on Route 122 when he was struck from behind by a vehicle that fled the scene. McQuaid was not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash.

The Virginia State Police are still looking for a suspect vehicle identified as a newer model Ford Edge sport utility vehicle that fled the scene.

Anyone having information regarding this hit and run accident should contact the Virginia State Police at 1-800-542-5959.”

Read more from News Advance.

Alexandria City Council Unanimously Approves King St. Bike Lanes

Proposed King St. Bike Lanes in Alexandria, VA

Bike lanes to be painted on King St.
Photo by Alexandria Dept. of Transportation and Environmental Services

After a long day’s debate with 70 speakers on the docket, Alexandria City Council voted 7-0 to approve the King St. Bicycle Lanes and Pedestrian Improvements project.

A few King St. residents who were — understandably — upset about losing street parking in front of their homes, left no stone unturned in bringing up arguments against the project; even using the Wall Street Journal as a soapbox. But local bike advocates carefully addressed each challenge over the course of several months. And today the City Council saw fit to uphold its own Complete Streets policy, and fix an important broken link in the local bike-ped network.

Alternate routes were considered, and may still be more appealing to some cyclists. But most will still use King St. to travel westward from Old Town and the King St. Metro station, and they must be accommodated.

With no bike lanes on King St., cyclists are using the narrow sidewalks.

With no bike lanes on King St., cyclists are using the narrow sidewalks.

Special thanks to the members of Alexandria’s Bike-Ped Adviscory Committee, WABA’s Greg Billing, WABA’s 300-plus members in Alexandria, and everyone else who wrote to let the Council know how important a route King St. is for bicycling, both locally and regionally.

Press

Help Bike Lanes Prevail Over Parking in Alexandria — Sign the Petition

Alexandria City Council unanimously approved the King St. bike lanes. Thanks to everyone who wrote in support!

Please sign the petition for the Alexandria City Council to approve the King Street Traffic Calming Project with Bike Lanes, by COB Friday, March 14.

By now you’ve probably heard about the proposed bike lanes on Alexandria’s King St., and the public approval process that keeps getting dragged out. [click to continue…]

4th Virginia Bike Summit Get-Together, Recap & Thanks

Thanks from VBF to Alta’s Fionnuala Quinn for organizing this get-together for the 4th year in a row. It’s great to finally meet everyone from around Virginia, and see others we don’t get to see often enough. From Fionnuala:

Thanks to everyone who came to the 4th Virginia Get-Together on a snowy day when practically everything else in DC had shut down. Despite conditions, we gathered a great group of about 35 bike advocates, officials, summit scholarship winners, bike coordinators, and others from MORE, Arlington, Fairfax, Prince William, Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Portsmouth, Blacksburg, Richmond, Charlottesville, Harrisonburg and elsewhere. We missed several people who had originally planned to join us because of the local weather.

After some lively socializing, we took a break for short presentations from:

Becky Johnson of Harrisonburg - Virginia Bike Summit Get-Together

Becky Johnson of Harrisonburg

  • Becky Johnston of Harrisonburg, talking about local success with eliminating a bus route via a walking school bus.
  • Beth Weisbrod, Executive Director of the Virginia Capital Trail Foundation on the progress installing the Virginia Capital Trail and the on-going need for support as the project continues moving forward.
  • Gillian Burgess of Arlington KidicalMass talked about the casual, slow-paced family rides that have been a huge local success and she called for ride-marshall volunteers to join in the fun.
  • Jeff Anderson, Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling, on the Second Fairfax Bike Summit, SRTS progress and the hiring of a new SRTS coordinator.
  • Jenifer Joy Madden, Fairfax and Durable Human, spoke about the Partnership for a Healthier Fairfax and the inclusion of health considerations in local design (check out Jenifer’s book)
  • Jonathan Nye of Ecocycling described plans for the Hampton Roads Bicycle Summit to be held on Saturday May 31st. Make a note.
  • Kitty Zeringue, the Virginia Tech Bicycle Coordinator (and New River Valley Bicycle Association president) spoke about the bike parking study that has been taking place on-campus.
  • Kyle Lawrence of Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition, provided a round up on the Harrisonburg bike master plan, the second Rockingham-Harrisonburg Bike Summit, the successful trail funding and the work taking place at JMU.
  • Mark Blacknell, Washington Area Bicyclist Association Board President/Arlington resident talked about the making of Bikeswell, the documentary (a must watch)
  • Max Hepp-Buchanan of Bike Walk RVA (Richmond) talked about the visit of elected officials and local government staff to Arlington and DC to tour bike facilities (another must-watch video)
  • Rick Holt, President of Prince William Trails and Streams Coalition, gave an up-date on local progress including a major SRTS infrastructure grant.
  • Susan Wilson, Manager of Transportation for the City of Portsmouth, spoke about the progress installing dedicated bike lanes throughout the City using various funding mechanisms and the other upcoming plans
  • Tom Bowden, of Virginia Bicycling Federation (VBF), provided an update on the ongoing legislative session.
  • Travis Davidson, Tidewater Bicycle Association, provided an update on the ongoing effort to incorporate a bicycle friendly multi-use path along the light rail planned in Virginia Beach and plans to hold a local bike summit in February, 2015
  • Wendy Phelps, Active Transportation Planner working on bicycle and pedestrian issues at City of Charlottesville, updated us on ongoing planning and improvements.

[click to continue…]

VA Legislature Drawing to a Close

As the 2014 Session of the Virginia General Assembly draws to a close on Saturday, March 8, cyclists may soon feel safer on Virginia’s roads but additional work will needed to be made in the future.

Thanks to the work of Senator Bryce Reeves (R – Spotsylvania), if Gov. McAuliffe signs SB97, motorists will be required to pass cyclists by at least three feet.  This was a hard fought battle but a great victory for all of us.

Though Delegate Barbara Comstock (R – Fairfax/Loudon) wasn’t successful with HB82, requiring motorists to not follow cyclists too closely, she certainly made a valiant effort to get it through the Senate Transportation Committee — where a number of longtime supporters voted against the bill.  Considering that Virginia is the only state which doesn’t protect cyclists from being tailgated, this legislation merely corrected an embarrasing omission to the existing Code.  It seems larger forces (Politics!) may have influenced the outcome of what seems like a common sense bill.

Senator Chap Petersen (D – Fairfax) suffered a similar fate with his SB225 before the Senate Transportation Committee. This “dooring” bill would have made it illegal to open a car door into moving traffic and causing an accident.

Until we make our roads and streets safe for all cyclists, we are facing an uphill battle to expect average citizens to choose to ride their bikes to work, school, for errands exercise or vacation.  Good common sense legislation like those introduced this year helps us achieve this goal.

We will soon begin planning for the 2015 Session.  If you live in Senators Reeves’ or Petersen’s, or Delegate Comstock’s districts, please thank them for going to bat for us.  We will be back to fight another day, but need the help of citizens across the state to get these bills passed.

SB97 ‘Three Foot Passing’ Is Passed by the House

Just back from a long day at the U.S. Capitol, as the League of American Bicyclists Bike Summit had their Lobby Day.

While there, at shortly after 1 p.m., I received the good news that the Virginia House of Delegates, after Passing the Bill By for the Day on both Monday and Tuesday (for reasons I have not yet learned) PASSED the Bill today by a 72 – 27 vote, culminating more than 5 years of effort in attempting to get to this result. SB 97 Bicycles, etc.; minimum clearance for passing.

floor: 03/05/14 House: VOTE: PASSAGE (72-Y 27-N) YEAS–Albo, Anderson, BaCote, Brink, Bulova, Campbell, Carr, Chafin, Cole, Comstock, Dance, DeSteph, Fariss, Farrell, Filler-Corn, Futrell, Greason, Habeeb, Head, Herring, Hester, Hope, Howell, A.T., Hugo, Ingram, James, Keam, Kilgore, Kory, Krupicka, Landes, LaRock, Leftwich, LeMunyon, Lopez, Loupassi, Marshall, R.G., Mason, Massie, McClellan, McQuinn, Miller, Minchew, Morris, Morrissey, O’Bannon, O’Quinn, Orrock, Plum, Pogge, Ramadan, Rasoul, Robinson, Rush, Rust, Sickles, Simon, Spruill, Stolle, Surovell, Taylor, Torian, Toscano, Tyler, Villanueva, Ward, Ware, Watts, Wilt, Yancey, Yost, Mr. Speaker–72.

NAYS–Adams, Austin, Bell, Richard P., Bell, Robert B., Berg, Bloxom, Byron, Cline, Cox, Davis, Edmunds, Fowler, Garrett, Gilbert, Helsel, Hodges, Joannou, Jones, Knight, Lingamfelter, Marshall, D.W., Morefield, Poindexter, Ransone, Scott, Webert, Wright–27.

ABSTENTIONS–0.

NOT VOTING–Peace–1.

Thanks are due to many, as I will expand upon later, but the hour is late.

Update: please note that Del. Buddy Fowler & Del. Chris Peace have notified the
House Clerk that their intent was to vote FOR the bill, rather than
being counted as a NAY and a Not Voting.

Although they do not rewrite history in such cases, and the vote still
stands as 72 – 27, their intentions are noted in the official record.

Accordingly, no need to express disappointment to them, but rather your
thanks.