A hand-up for Bikemore?

Photo by:    tbd.bike

Photo by: tbd.bike

If you’ve been to a cyclocross bike race before, you might be familiar with the hand-up tradition — a spectator on the sideline hands something to a passing rider. 

It’s usually a snack, beer, dollar bills, crabs when in Baltimore. It gives the rider a boast, makes them smile or laugh. 

This weekend we’ll be at Charm City Cross, one of the biggest races in the area that happens right here in Druid Hill Park. We’ll of course giving hand-ups, hoots and hollers to our hometown riders.

Because everyone needs that boost from their friends, Bikemore included. 

Can you spare $10 to give Bikemore a boost each month? 

PS. Want to help make Charm City Cross a success? Sign up to volunteer!

Update on Complete Streets

New BCDOT Director Sharkey at his confirmation

New BCDOT Director Sharkey at his confirmation

On October 3, 2019, Baltimore City Department of Transportation was supposed to release for public comment a draft Complete Streets manual. It never happened.

The Baltimore Complete Streets ordinance, enacted in December of last year, contained a robust public outreach requirement that was supposed to begin immediately, engaging community members in a detailed series of public meetings to bring awareness to Complete Streets principles and the creation of a draft manual. Councilman Ryan Dorsey consulted with Bikemore and the Complete Streets Coalition and developed a robust set of community engagement expectations that were delivered in a memo to then Director Michelle Pourciau.

In late April, Director Pourciau resigned after reports of an Office of the Inspector General investigation into her leadership tactics. Shortly thereafter, Mayor Pugh resigned amid the “Healthy Holly” scandal. In the aftermath of these resignations, it became clear that Director Pourciau had not devoted adequate resources to meet the legislative requirements of the Complete Streets ordinance. No significant community outreach had been conducted, and none meeting the expectations of the coalition or Councilman Dorsey had been planned. This seemed almost purposeful, and was a devastating blow to the implementation calendar of a bill that had just been recognized as one of the best Complete Streets initiatives in the country.

Shortly after this news, Acting Mayor Jack Young selected Steve Sharkey, then head of the Department of General Services, to lead Baltimore City Department of Transportation. Director Sharkey was unanimously confirmed by the Baltimore City Council on August 20th. Director Sharkey hit the ground running, immediately meeting with stakeholders on Complete Streets.

By August 29th, at the first meeting of the newly formed City Council Transportation Committee, chaired by Councilman Ryan Dorsey, Baltimore City Department of Transportation publicly agreed that the deadlines for the Complete Streets ordinance would not be met.

As a result, Councilman Dorsey introduced legislation to extend the deadlines of Baltimore Complete Streets, to ensure adequate community outreach is conducted, and conducted to the expectations of the Complete Streets Coalition and city council. The legislation, emergency adopted by the full city council on September 23rd and signed by Mayor Young on October 7th, gives Baltimore City Department of Transportation until October 16th to deliver a community engagement plan to the Land Use Committee for review and comment, and specifies that this plan must incorporate the recommendations set forth in the community engagement expectations originally sent to Director Pourciau.

Each deadline is then reset following this initial revision. Within 90 days, the Complete Streets Advisory Committee must deliver scoping recommendations for the Complete Streets Manual. By April 1, 2020, the Complete Streets Manual must be made available for public comment, and by July 1, 2020 the Complete Streets Manual must be adopted.

An additional clarification was also made in this legislative update: all other components of the Complete Streets ordinance, including the design standards like lane widths, design vehicles, and design speeds, and the prioritization of pedestrians, bicyclists, and public transit users over other modes, are immediately law effective this past Monday, October 7th. There should be no more grey area on the law.

While we are disappointed in the decisions of the prior administration which led to this delay, the future is bright. For the first time we have a Council President who supported creation of a Transportation Committee. We have a Transportation Committee Chair who bikes to work, who authored and passed the strongest and most progressive Complete Streets ordinance in the country. We have a Mayor who prioritized signing this legislative extension and who hired a Transportation Director who lives in Baltimore, who bikes to work, who knows how to support his staff and increase morale, and who is honest and transparent about the work ahead of him.

We look forward to working with this team of dedicated and talented elected and appointed officials to deliver a Complete Streets manual worthy of the legislation and coalition that demanded it, even if it will be a few months late.

What has Netflix done for you lately?

Photo by Corey Jennings

Photo by Corey Jennings

Netflix is a bargain. For around $10 a month you get infinite programs at your disposal. Personally, I would pay $10 a month for the Great British Baking Show alone. With that same $10, you could help build more bike lanes in Baltimore. Or help a neighbor get back on a bike for the first time in 20 years. Or elect a Mayor that believes in streets built for people, not just cars.

Our work at Bikemore has always been people powered. The programs we offer and the bike lanes we fight for are made possible because of people like you pitching in what you can. For many folks, a $100 donation is a heavy lift. But setting up a small monthly donation is a way to have a big impact regardless of your budget. 

If 300 of you reading this sign up to give $10 per month,
you’d collectively donate $36,000 a year. 

If you gave $20 per month, we’re up to $72,000 a year. 

That would make monthly donors Bikemore’s largest source of funding. 

Recurring donations lead to financial stability. Regular monthly income means less time spent fundraising and more time spent building a city for people — people like you who deserve safety and dignity when they use the street. 

Can you give $10 a month to make our city a safer place to walk and bike?

+ Make a Monthly Direct Action Donation

Direct Action donations are our greatest need. They can fund everything we do, including directly lobbying elected officials, running grassroots organizing campaigns, and advocating for or against legislation. They are not tax-deductible.

+ Make a monthly Charitable Donation

Charitable donations can only fund our education, organizing, and programming, but may be tax-deductible.

When fixing a flat is a burden

Photo by Graham Coreil-Allen

Photo by Graham Coreil-Allen

According to the Pew Research Center, over 50% of households in the United States already own a bicycle. Building a force for biking in Baltimore requires removing as many barriers to biking as possible. That means making sure people have access to a working bike. 

Every bike will need service and repair from time to time. But if you don’t have a bike shop in your neighborhood, where do you go? Something as simple as changing a flat becomes a burden, and that bike ends up collecting dust. So instead of giving away bikes, we believe the best way to get more people on bikes is to fix the bikes they already have — right in their own neighborhood. 

 In 2016 we hosted our first Mobile Bike Shop. Over the past four years this volunteer led program has grown exponentially, adding new community partners and going to new neighborhoods every year. This spring we were awarded the competitive Catalyst Grant from the City of Baltimore. This grant allowed us to hire a full time staff person to operate the Mobile Bike Shop year round, reach more neighborhoods, and fix more bikes. 

Menelik Yeha joined our team in August. Under his leadership, we have been able to run more Mobile Bike Shops in the past four weeks than that first summer in 2016. Menelik has been a cyclist in Baltimore for 20 years and brings with him his combined passion for transportation and cycling. We are so excited Menelik has joined the team. 

We overcame the barrier to hire a full time staff person. Now we need your help to ensure we can meet the demand and give more people access to a working bike.

$500 = brings the Mobile Bike Shop to a neighborhood without a bike shop
$100 = transports the team and tools to a single event
$50 = fixes five flat tires
$30 = pays a mechanic for two hours

Can you help? Donate today:

Take Action This Sunday: Memorial Ride for Wayne Richardson

Photo by Corey Jennings

Photo by Corey Jennings

Two months ago we stood beside Michael Hughes' family and placed ghost bike in his memory, pictured above. This Sunday, we will again be standing alongside a grieving family. 

Wayne Richardson Memorial Ride + Ghost Bike Dedication
Sunday, September 15th
Meet at the Washington Monument at 12pm

On July 30th, Wayne Richardson was killed after being struck from behind by a hit-and-run driver while riding his bike near the 2600 block of East Madison. We connected with Wayne's family and learned that he was retired from the Army Reserve, he served as an usher and sang in the choir at his church, and cared deeply for those around him, often taking in friends and family and helping them get on their feet.

Every single person that is killed on our streets has a story, has value just by way of being a human being. But when hit and runs are a frequent  occurrence and when civic leaders don't stand up for safer streets — it sends a message that people who travel our streets by bike or on foot don't deserve dignity. That we don’t deserve safety.  

Join us this Sunday to stand up against this message and demonstrate that, like all victims of traffic violence, Wayne deserved better. We'll be riding from the Washington Monument to Madison and Kenwood where Wayne was killed to place a ghost bike in his memory. This will be a slow 2.5 mile ride mostly on the Monument Street protected bike lane. 

It’s time to show up in force. We need to come together to show leadership that we're human, that when we prioritize cars over the safety of people on our streets — this is the outcome. We lose people who meant something to someone, people like Wayne.

>> Click here to find more details about the ride and invite your friends and neighbors.