All posts by meredith.joy

Yay Bikes! augments annual “Put a Lid on It” program with safety training

In this video featuring ODOT Director Jerry Wray’s helmet program endorsement, Catherine Girves and Yay Bikes! member Talon Hendricks model how to fit a helmet. Regarding helmets, Talon says: “It’s safe. It helps you because if you’re not wearing a helmet, this part of your head is not covered with a shell so you hit your head”.

On April 9, 2015, Yay Bikes! joined the Ohio Department of Transportation and the American Academy of Pediatrics, Ohio Chapter to train the ~40 youth program coordinators from across the state who had received grants of free helmets to distribute within their communities. The training covered basic parking lot drills the coordinators could use to help kids practice their bike handling skills, and a presentation identifying three primary causes of kids’ bicycle crashes.

We appreciate ODOT for funding our participation in this exciting project.

“The Risks of Riding Right”

ODOT funded and Yay Bikes! developed this original safety video for the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Ohio Chapter’s annual “Put a Lid on It” campaign, in association with their Bicycle Helmet Safety Awareness Week (May 2–10, 2015). It  was used to train youth programming coordinators statewide who had received a grant of free helmets from the Ohio AAP Foundation about insidious cycling safety risks.

To our knowledge, this is the only bicycle safety video that captures near-crashes from both the motorist’s and the cyclist’s point of view. Pay particular attention to how limited the motorist’s field of vision is!

(Bonus points to anyone who can tell us where the video’s catch phrase comes from!)

Out & About with Yay Bikes! — April 2015

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“Selfies with Catherine”: City of Columbus engineers and friends edition

Welcome to the monthly feature in which we round up all our events, earned media, program deliver, meetings and speaking engagements for the month. Behold, April:

Apr 1 = Open Houses for Connect Columbus

Apr 2 = Open House for Connect Columbus

Apr 2 = Infrastructure review ride of Long & Spring with 4 Yay Bikes! members

Apr 5 = Infrastructure review ride of Long & Spring with 15 Yay Bikes! members

Apr 8 = Annual Bike Expo @ Battelle 

Apr 8 = Sharing “How We Roll” @ Pelotonia’s Captains’ night

Apr 9 = “Put a Lid on It” program training practitioners statewide about youth bike safety with the Ohio Department of Transportation and the American Academy of Pediatricians, Ohio Chapter 

Apr 9 = ODOT News Release: “Ohio children to receive more than 9,000 helmets”

Apr 9 = ODOT video: “Put a Lid on It”

Apr 9 = Planning meeting for Central Ohio’s 2015 Ride of Silence 

Continue reading Out & About with Yay Bikes! — April 2015

Out & About with Yay Bikes! — March 2015

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“Snapshots with Catherine”, Suzanne Birk (Bicycle Activity Chair, Columbus Outdoor Pursuits) and Chuck Smith (President, Ohio Bicycle Federation) edition. They’re about to chat with Representative Tiberi’s staff about bikin’!

Welcome to the monthly feature in which we round up all our events, earned media, meetings and speaking engagements for the month. Behold, March:

Mar 2 = Regular meeting of MORPC’s Community Advisory Council, on which Catherine serves

Mar 2 = Getting to know you meeting with Columbus Outdoor Pursuits, Westerville Bicycle Club, Columbus Rides Bikes and COMBO

Mar 3 = Planning meeting for Central Ohio’s 2015 Ride of Silence

Mar 4 = Meeting with Scott Ulrich, City of Columbus’s new Bicycle Coordinator, Scott Ulrich

Mar 4 = Public meeting for the City of Columbus‘s proposed Summit/3rd and 4th upgrades

Mar 5 = Regular meeting of the Transportation Committee of Mayor Coleman’s Green Team, on which Catherine serves

Mar 6 = Meeting with Alex Smith, Safe Routes to School Coordinator at Columbus Public Health

Mar 8 = Board retreat for Downtown Residents Association of Columbus, on which Catherine serves

Mar 10 = National Women’s Bicycling Forum in Washington D.C.

Mar 11 = League of American Bicyclists’ National Bike Summit in Washington D.C.

Mar 12 = Meetings with staff for Representatives Pat Tiberi, Steve Stivers and Joyce Beatty in their D.C. offices to advocate for bicycling infrastructure funding and for Vision Zero

Mar 15 = Participation in the Westerville Bicycle Club’s Ohio Bike Swap Meet, courtesy members Jeff Gove and Steve Puhl, Jr

Mar 16 = Monthly board meeting for Yay Bikes!

Mar 16 = Presentation to the Westerville Bicycle Club, courtesy member Jeff Bannon

Mar 19 = Regular meeting of Community Shares of Mid Ohio‘s Program Services Committee meeting, which Catherine chairs

Mar 20 = Conference call with How We Roll OSU planning team

Mar 23 = Monthly gathering of the Yay Bikes! Member Champions

Mar 25 = Regular meeting of the CoGo Strategy Group

Mar 25 = Regular meeting of Columbus’ Bicycle Working Group (formerly the Bicycle Subcommittee of the Transportation & Pedestrian Commission), on which Catherine serves

Mar 25 = Inaugural planning meeting for Bike the Cbus 2015

Mar 26 = Planning meeting for City of Columbus’s 2015 Bike to Work Day

Mar 29 =  Planning meeting for Central Ohio’s 2015 Ride of Silence

Mar 30 = Regular meeting of MORPC’s Community Advisory Council, on which Catherine serves

Mar 31 = Public meeting for Connect Columbus

Earn a Bike 3.0 @ Great Western Academy

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Gladden House youth touring the West Side in 2014’s Earn a Bike Program

With generous funding from the Coca Cola Foundation through the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy’s Ohio regional office, this spring we’re partnering with Imagine Schools Great Western Academy to deliver our third round of our Earn a Bike programming to 20 youth. During the program, kids will participate in 8 hours of mechanical education and 8 hours of safe cycling education, plus complete a bicycle-related community service project. If they complete the program, they’ll take home a new bike, plus a helmet, lock and other accessories.

Final report from 2014:

Yay Bikes! and Franklinton Cycle Works partnered with Gladden Community House on the city’s West Side to offer their youth a 2-week Earn a Bike program. During the program’s first week, participants learned basic bicycle mechanics and maintenance over 8 hours at Franklinton Cycle Works; in the second week they rode for 8 hours with Yay Bikes! to learn trail and road safety. On the final day of the program they shared what they’d learned with their peers by staffing a bike rodeo at Avondale Middle School. Ten children aged 8–14 began the program and 9 (3 girls and 6 boys) completed it to earn their bicycles and accessories.  Continue reading Earn a Bike 3.0 @ Great Western Academy

Out & About with Yay Bikes! : February 2015

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Selfies Snapshots with Catherine”, Michelle May (Safety Program Manager, ODOT), Jolene Molitoris (Former Director, ODOT) and Joy Lanham (President, WTS Columbus) edition

Welcome to the monthly feature in which we round up all our events, earned media, meetings and speaking engagements for the month. Behold, February:

Feb 2 = Columbus Underground article: “Protected Bike Lane on Summit Just the Beginning, Says City & Cycling Advocacy”

Feb 2 = Columbus Dispatch article: “Transportation Insider: New markings to guide 4th Street cyclists”

Feb 3 & 25 = Yay Bikes! Member Champions Night (link to March’s event)

Feb 5 = Annual Meeting of WTS Columbus (Women’s Transportation Seminar)

Feb 12 = Regular meeting of Mayor Coleman’s Green Team, on which Catherine serves

Feb 12 = Meeting of the CoGo Planning Team, on which Catherine serves, to strategize with the new Motivate CEO, Jay Walder

Feb 12 = Buckeye News Now video: “Bike lanes to be added off campus” (story @ 5:31–7:29)

Feb 13 = Meeting with Julie Walcoff of ODOT to plan for the National Safe Routes to School Conference in 2016 and other potential partnerships

Feb 16 = Meeting with Stuart Hunter, founder of roll:, to discuss Business Membership

Feb 18 = Regular board meeting of Downtown Residents Association of Columbus, at which Catherine was elected to the Board of Directors

Feb 20 = Meeting of City of Columbus engineers and project consultants to discuss proposed changes to 3rd/Summit & 4th Street designs

Feb 22 = Inaugural planning meeting for 2015’s Ride of Silence

Feb 25 = Inaugural meeting of the Bike to Work Day Planning Group, on which Catherine & Meredith serve

Feb 25 = Regular meeting of the Bicycle Subcommittee of the Transportation & Pedestrian Commission, on which Catherine serves

Feb 26 = Meeting with Abby Rhodebeck, Outdoor Programs and Outreach Market Coordinator for REI to discuss Bike the Cbus sponsorship

Feb 27 = People for Bikes blog post: “Boston, Columbus, Detroit, Indy, Minneapolis, Houston, Denver & Seattle all Unveil Protected Lanes”

Winning at bicycle infrastructure: The true story of how a dream team, a touch of magic and Yay Bikes!’ special sauce made Columbus’s first protected bike lane happen

By now the news has been shared far and wide: Columbus’s first protected bike lane will soon be installed from Hudson to 11th in the University District! Read the details here and here to boost your day with some YAY and more YAY! Both articles give a nod to the role Yay Bikes! played in helping nudge this project forward with our infrastructure review process:

 “Original plans called for a conventional bike lane, but the city reconsidered its position after engineers rode with representatives from Yay Bikes, a local advocacy and education group.”—Dispatch article

“The important thing about this, though…was the interactions between the department and Yay Bikes!—this is not engineers in a hermetically sealed room designing a project. Catherine and the folks at Yay Bikes were instrumental in making this what it is.”—Rick Tilton, Assistant Director, City of Columbus Department of Public Service

“I will say this, I like to ride my bike but I’ve always ridden on the trail system—I had never ridden on the street—and Yay Bikes! invited us to go out on a couple of different occasions and actually ride on the street with them. And, before the ride, I thought it was going to be really scary, but it turned out that drivers were very courteous, and it wasn’t frightening at all. You want to pay attention to what you’re doing, but it was just like you were in any other vehicle. At the time of Yay Bikes ride on Summit and Fourth, the protected lane was not a done deal… we were thinking about it, but it was still in the planning stages.”—Richard Ortman, Engineer, City of Columbus

But as much as we’d like to, obviously we can’t take all the credit for the new protected lane. So how do advocacy wins like this actually happen? To the extent that we can take credit for it, we at Yay Bikes! believe our advocacy philosophy played a role that I will detail below. Beyond that, let’s not underestimate the roles that leadership, timing and, frankly, magic play in creating the big advocacy wins that many groups fully claim. For example, at this precise moment in history, as the stars align within the U.S., Ohio and Central Ohio—the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Secretary Fox has issued a Mayor’s Challenge to improve bicycle safety; the Federal Highway Administration is committed like never before to promoting bicycle safety; the Ohio Department of Transportation is making bicycle safety projects, including exciting demonstration projects like this, a priority for the safety funding it distributes; Columbus’s Mayor Michael Coleman often states his intention to make Columbus one of the best bicycling cities in the country; Columbus’ Director of Public Service is investing heavily in a new relationship with us, the local bicycle advocacy organization; and Yay Bikes! is sufficiently successful to provide the level of expertise now in such high demand. Each of these players comprise the “dream team” that made this protected bike lane happen, and they all deserve a big fat standing O for their work.

But returning to how Yay Bikes! conducts the business of bicycle advocacy. As with all things Yay Bikes!, our cooperative advocacy philosophy flows from our core values of Kindness, Excellence & Integrity. Taking the case of this protected lane as an example, the following are our underlying assumptions and how they translate into our advocacy practices.

Assumptions + Practices

Everyone is more accommodating when they are treated with kindness.

We all want safe, functional streets. Even engineers who don’t yet see the value of accommodating bicyclists want streets that work. Our practice is to treat everyone with kindness and to be selective about who we permit to interface directly with project staff. Professionals should be shielded from those who would shame them or make their lives more difficult.

Everyone brings different, valuable expertise to the table.

It is critical that both advocates and professionals work in partnership to design roadways. Advocates (i.e., both paid staff and organization members) bring essential knowledge of road riding, while the project design team brings a wealth of professional expertise and experience. To capture the best of the expertise from both groups, our practices are to 1) lead the design team on a ride of the route to evaluate their proposed changes, 2) open participation in the commentary process to our membership, so that as many voice as possible are heard from and 3) trust the professionals to revise their plans as necessary to address both our concerns and the conditions they experienced on the ride.

Every roadway requires a different treatment.

There is no best type of infrastructure. We do not advocate for protected bike lanes or other such one-size-fits-all solutions. Our roads are all very different, and none were designed for bicycles. Our practice is to actually ride each roadway and work from the designs proposed by knowledgeable engineers to help determine its best possible retrofit.

There is no substitute for actually riding the roads.

We can’t say it enough — it is not sufficient to simply review maps. Because riding a bicycle is not an intellectual exercise, we must ride the roads with those who are charged with designing them so that they can experience it directly. And because these people are often not road riding cyclists, our job as advocates is to help them feel comfortable riding alongside traffic, and alleviate any fears they may have.

Now admittedly, the case of this protected lane featured a healthy dose of magic, in that all the players were on the same page and committed to going above and beyond to serve local cyclists. Advocacy can surely get a lot messier than that. But for the professionals who work with Yay Bikes!, at least a few things can be counted on regardless: you will be treated with kindness and respect, you will have a reasoned partner in determining the best treatment for each unique roadway condition, and you will be expected to get on your bikes. Now let’s ride!

Educating practitioners statewide on youth bicycle safety

The Ohio American Academy of Pediatrics Foundation’s annual Bicycle Helmet Safety Awareness Week, offered in partnership with the Ohio Department of Transportation, is on the calendar for May 2–10, 2015. More information about how to participate, educational materials and the application for free youth helmets to give away, are now available.

The educators, health professionals, community activists and others statewide who receive free helmets will travel to Columbus in April to pick them up. At that time, for the first time in the campaign’s history, training provided by yours truly will help them address the most critical points of bicycle safety for young riders. The lessons they learn that day are expected to reduce youth bike injuries throughout Ohio! We thank the Ohio AAP Foundation and ODOT for prioritizing a rigorous educational experience for these practitioners.

Out & About with Yay Bikes! : January 2015

“Selfies with Catherine”, Shannon Hardin (Columbus City Council) edition

Welcome to our new monthly feature, in which we round up all our events, earned media, meetings and speaking engagements for the month. Behold, January:

Jan 5 = Meeting with Transit Columbus’s Elissa Schneider, re: Open Streets and other potential partnerships

Jan 5 = Meeting of MORPC’s Community Advisory Committee, on which Catherine serves

Jan 6 = Meeting with Columbus City Council’s new Public Service Chair Shannon Hardin, re: introducing him to our work

Jan 7 = Columbus Food League’s Yay Bikes! fundraiser @ Grass Skirt Tiki Room

Jan 7 = Meeting with Greater Columbus Art Council’s Ruby Harper, re: integrating art and bicycling

Jan 13 = Meeting with ODOT’s Julie Walcoff and the Ohio AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) Foundation’s Hayley Southworth, re: providing trainings for the 2015 “Put a Lid On It” campaign

Jan 14 = Presentation at Grandview Civic Welfare Club, re: Yay Bikes! programming

Jan 15 = Meeting with Bexley’s Mayor Ben Kessler, Council Member Deneese Owen and Service Department Director Bill Dorman, re: serving Bexley’s cyclists

Jan 27 = Meeting with City of Columbus Deparment of Public Service Director Tracie Davies & Deputy Director Jennifer Gallagher, re: Multimodal Thoroughfare Plan update and other city bike business

Jan 28 = Meeting of the Bicycle Subcommittee of the Transportation & Pedestrian Commission, on which Catherine serves

Jan 30 = Columbus Dispatch article: “University District to get first protected bike lane in Columbus”

Take the 2015 Pedal Instead survey!

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Picking your brain for Pedal Instead, pretty please!
Dear Cyclist, 


This year Pedal Instead will get a major upgrade. With support anticipated from the Ohio EPA, Yay Bikes! plans to maximize Pedal Instead’s vast (vast!) capacity to educate the general public about bicycling for transportation. To help us better understand how Pedal Instead is currently utilized as a source of bicycle-related information, we have created a short survey. Regardless of how much or little you encountered Pedal Instead during 2014 (heck, regardless of whether you know what Pedal Instead even is), please take a quick minute to fill it out and forward it to the people in your local networks. Thanks a thousand times!