Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Return of Faces of Fairfax - Stacey Hardy

Last year FABB presented a series of stories that sought to personalize Fairfax County’s bicyclists for the larger public. During this year’s Bike to Work Day in May, FABB members again took pictures of area bikers and asked them about themselves and their biking habits. 

Stacey Hardy likes to ride to work and around her neighborhood on weekends. She first participated in Bike To Work Day in 2015 and since then rides to work a few times a week from Fairfax City to the Fair Oaks area. 

She likes to ride because it gets her outside and is a welcome physical challenge in a world where it's easy to be sedentary. She also likes the fact that biking to work accomplishes the multiple functions of getting to work, getting outside, and getting exercise at the same time.

Stacey would like to see more dedicated bicycling facilities that treat bicycling as a valid way to get around. She thinks that just sharing recreational trails and sidewalks can endanger pedestrians.

As we wrote last year, FABB encourages its members and other readers to share these profiles in social media as a reminder to our fellow citizens that, when it comes to our area’s bike commuters, recreational riders, and other bicyclists, we represent a wide range of ages, backgrounds, and interests. We are mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, and sons and daughters. And, when we ride with safety in mind and within the law, we deserve reciprocal care and consideration from others on the roads and trails.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

FABB and Potomac Pedalers Supporting Bike-Friendly BrewFest

FABB is proud to be working with the Potomac Pedalers and the Workhouse Arts Center in promoting and supporting BrewFest, the first of its kind craft beer event in Fairfax County. Brewfest will feature nearly 100 craft brews by 30 breweries, including many local brewers. In addition, the day will feature a dozen bands performing on three stages, numerous food trucks, and lawn games. Plus Workhouse Arts Center artists will open their galleries for visitors to explore. BrewFest takes place on August 13, 2016 from 10am-6pm, rain or shine, at the Workhouse Art Center, 9518 Workhouse Way, Lorton, VA 22079.

Potomac Pedalers, of course, is one of the region’s largest non-profit educational, recreational and social organization for bicycling enthusiasts.  Every week, Potomac Pedalers provide a variety of routes for novice to veterans riders, with routes from the Chesapeake Bay to the Blue Ridge Mountains and all around the Beltway.  

For the Workhouse event, the Potomac Pedalers will have rides starting at 9AM from the Vulcan parking lot across Ox Road with routes that will range from 30-60 miles out to Mason Neck and back.  See the Potomac Pedalers calendar for ride details here. After the ride, participants are encouraged to join the Brewfest festivities. 

BrewFest is encouraging other bicyclists to attend, and bike racks will be available on site. FABB is preparing cue sheets for bike routes to Brewfest and these will be available on the Workhouse website prior to the event. 

All proceeds from the event benefit the arts and education programs at the Workhouse Arts Center.  Workhouse is a non-profit dedicated to providing outstanding visual and performing arts, arts education and history programs—all in the unique historic setting of the former DC Prison in Lorton. 

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Monday, June 27, 2016

Fairfax Bike Program Is Looking for a Summer Intern

See the job announcement below from Fairfax Co Dept. of Transportation.
Job Announcement Fairfax County Department of Transportation is looking for a fall intern to assist with outreach efforts that will promote bicycling and bike safety.

This position will include developing and implementing community and business outreach strategies and materials related to bicycle projects, developing a variety of bike-related encouragement and educational efforts, and attending outreach events.

Minimum QualificationsCurrent student or recent graduate in the field of marketing, sales, communications, community organizing, urban or transportation planning, or similar. Experience with outreach efforts, advocacy or event planning desirable. Must be able to ride a bike. Must have valid driver’s license. Ability to communicate in Spanish a plus.

This intern position is UNPAID, but will work with intern to earn class credit if offered through his/her college or university.

The position requires 20 hours per week from September-December. Attendance of some evening and weekend events is required. Exact length of position will depend on candidate’s availability. Schedule can be flexible.

Preferred Qualifications and Knowledge-Excellent organizational skills and great initiative
-Strong writing skills and ability to synthesize key information into a compelling written presentation
-Strong interpersonal and customer service skills
-Ability to use Word, PowerPoint, Excel
-Some knowledge of bicycle planning and encouragement principles

Please send resume and cover letter to by July 18, 2016. Call 703-877-5625 with questions.

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Saturday, June 25, 2016

Newly Paved Shoulder on Franklin Farm Road

VDOT recently repaved Franklin Farm Road from Centreville Rd to West Ox Rd. As part of the project, wide paved shoulders were created. The road was an OK bike route before the paving, but the shoulder was in poor condition and the width varied greatly. Now there is a relatively wide paved shoulder in very good condition.

However, where the road intersects with side streets with curb and gutter, the shoulder disappears. We are told that VDOT had funding only for repaving, not reconstructing curb and gutter at these intersections. We've asked that the modifications be added to the project list. At these locations cyclists will need to merge into the travel lane, which can be a difficult maneuver when traffic is heavy.

Thanks to VDOT and Fairfax Co for improving bike conditions on this road. Let's hope there will be funds in the near future to improve the intersections which will greatly improve this route.

Here's a before and after comparison of a section of the road just west of Fairfax Co Parkway:

Franklin Farm Rd before repaving
Franklin Farm Rd after repaving
This is what one of the curb and gutter intersections looks like:

Franklin Farm Rd at Tuckaway Dr

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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

One Month Until Richmond to DC Ride

The inaugural Ride to DC: Bike for Your Right event, a 160-mile ride from Richmond to Gateway Park in Rosslyn, will be held on 23-24 July 2016. Early registration closes next week on 30 June. The cost is $150, which includes access to food and water stations every 15 miles and a complimentary beer for riders over 21 who make the finish line. Transportation options are available for purchase during online registration.  

FABB is encouraging interested northern Virginia cyclists to participate in this challenging and fun advocacy ride, which is sponsored by Sports Backers of Richmond, to demonstrate our area’s strong support for bicycling in the Commonwealth.

The ride will rely on back roads and trails to cover the distance between Richmond and Old Mill Park, Fredericksburg, on the first day.  On day two, riders will bike from Fredericksburg along the western border of Quantico Marine Corps Base into Manassas and Chantilly before joining the Fairfax County Parkway trail into Reston. From there, the riders will take the W&OD trail south to the Custis Trail and into Rosslyn.  More details on the ride can be found on the Sports Backers website.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Crash on W&OD Trail Monday June 13

We learned that a cyclist was involved in a bike/car crash at the intersection of Michael Faraday Dr and the W&OD Trail at around 7:45 a.m. on Monday, June 13. The cyclist was riding through the crosswalk and a motorist drove in front of him. The cyclist struck the side of the motor vehicle. The cyclist has no memory of the crash. If you witnessed the crash on Monday, June 13 at around 7:45 a.m. or heard anything about it, please contact us.

The cyclist suffered a concussion, a broken rib, and various bruises and road rash. The cyclist was unconscious when he was taken to the trauma center at Inova Fairfax Hospital, where the police issued him a ticket for failure to yield right of way.

At this location there is a very short distance between the nearest road intersection and the trail crossing. A fast-moving motorist could come upon a cyclist very quickly, which may have been the case in this situation. Traffic volume on Michael Faraday Ct is very low, approximately 210 vehicles per day, which is much less than traffic volume on the trail. Fairfax Co recently counted trail users within a mile of this intersection and the daily totals ranged from 887 to 2709. A strong argument could be made for installing STOP signs for motorists traveling on Michael Faraday Ct.

According to the crash report, the VA code used for the citation was 46.2-826, "Stop before entering public highway or sidewalk from private road, etc.; yielding right-of-way.” There is some confusion about whether this is the proper code to use in this case. According to a VDOT report about the zig zag markings on Sterling Blvd, they commented on this confusion:
With regard to language in the Code regarding vehicles entering a public highway from a road other than a highway, § 46.2-826 states: “The driver of a vehicle entering a public highway or sidewalk from a private road, driveway, alley, or building shall stop immediately before entering such highway or sidewalk and yield the right-of-way to vehicles approaching on such public highway and to pedestrians or vehicles approaching on such public sidewalk.” Again in this case, however, bicycles are not considered “vehicles” by § 46.2-100 because “a private road, driveway, alley, or building” does not meet the Code’s definition of a “highway.” Therefore, this code provision does not appear to apply to bicyclists on the W&OD Trail.”
On the other hand, on June 14, 2013 the VA Attorney General's office issued an opinion on the enforcement of STOP signs on the W&OD Trail: "Accordingly, it is my opinion that law enforcement officers may enforce against trailer [sic] users stop signs installed on the W&OD Trail if such signs represent a rule or regulation adopted by NVRPA under the Virginia Park Authorities Act." The opinion does not state which code should be used for writing a citation.

The bottom line is be very careful when crossing road intersections. We know that most trail users don't come to a complete stop (including Fairfax Co bike police). But if you don't stop, and are involved in a crash with a motorist, there's a good chance you will either be found to be at fault or the contributory negligence law in VA will prevent you from winning in civil court.

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Monday, June 20, 2016

Results from Vienna Walk Bike Challenge Week

Banner over Maple Ave during
Walk Bike Challenge Week
During the week of June 13-17 students at Vienna area elementary schools took a combined 6473 trips to school by foot, bike, skateboard, and scooter. 1250 of those trips were by bicycle. That is 4 years in a row where Vienna students have exceeded 5000 trips to school during the Walk Bike Challenge Week and the second time in four years where over 6000 trips to school were taken.

Cunningham Park received the Challenge Cup at an awards ceremony June 17 before the Chillin On Church Street Party. The Cup is awarded to the school with the most improvement in participation over the prior year. Westbriar came in second making 3 years in a row with a top 2 finish.

Vienna Elementary will also be recognized for the fifth straight year with the Biking Cup which is awarded to the school with the highest level of participants that bike to school. Vienna ES had 232 students bike to school on Friday - over 50% of the students - which is as far as we know only the second time in the Commonwealth of Virginia that a school has had over 200 students bike to school. The previous time being last year Vienna Elementary had 279 students bike to school for our field day.

Final results:

Challenge Cup:

1. Cunningham Park
2. Westbriar
3. Vienna Elementary

Biking Cup:

1. Vienna Elementary
2. Marshall Road
3. Wolftrap

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