Thursday, December 8, 2011

FABB bike light giveaway in Reston-Herndon

Tonight two members of FABB, myself and Rob Henenlotter, did an impromptu bike light giveaway. Instead of announcing an event and waiting for cyclists to come to us, we traveled on the W&OD trail between Reston and Herndon and asked lightless riders if they wanted a set of lights. Most said yes. With sunset coming so early, many cyclists and pedestrians are out on the trail without lights after dark.

We also handed out reflective bands, either the FABB velcro leg band or narrow slap bracelets generously donated by Inova. Pedestrians and runners without lights or reflective gear can be very difficult to see. We gave the bands and slap bracelets to several non-cycling trail users.

At one point we were admiring a well-lit commuter bike. It wasn't until after he had passed that we noticed the rider, Tom Wyland, a regular FABB member, on his ride home from work. He stopped and we talked about bike lights for a while. He carries some of our giveaway lights and had just given a set to a rider. As were talking another rider without lights passed us. We handed a set to Tom who planned to offer them to the rider.


The other rider accepted the lights. He was casually riding his ride his bike down the trail while chatting on his cell phone. You could tell by the way he rides that he's on his bike every day. He's not biking for fun or exercise. He's biking for transportation. He'll be much safer with the lights FABB gave him.
I love this idea and our bicycle advocacy group wanted to do something similar in Carrboro, North Carolina. We have a proposal and are looking for funding opportunities. Any ideas on national sources? Any luck getting businesses donating lights? How many lights did you give out?
Eric, Over the past two years we've purchased and donated 450 sets of lights. We buy them from Planet Bike which contributes 25% of their profits to improving bicycling conditions. We purchased the lights using funds from a transportation company that has a community grant program. The Alliance for Biking and Walking has an excellent grant program for funding local advocacy efforts:

We worked with a local bike shop that helped us get the lights for a discount. Another shop donated a small number of lights.

Good luck.

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