Category Archives: advocacy

Connect Columbus workshops July 13–17 are your chance to influence the next 30 years of transportation


A full week of studio sessions at the Franklin County Board of Elections building at 1700 Morse Road present another round of opportunities for you to share transportation ideas for your neighborhood and the City of Columbus! Stop in for 20 minutes or as long as you like to share your thoughts with the planning experts. Workshops include:

  • Open Work Session: Monday, July 13, 1–6p
  • Opening Presentation: Monday, July 13, 6p
  • Open Work Session: Tuesday, July 14, 11a–6p
  • Open Work Session: Wednesday, July 15, 2–8p
  • Open Work Session: Thursday, July 16, 9a–2p
  • Closing Presentation: Thursday, July 16, 6p
  • Yay Bikes! Bike Ride**: Friday, July  17, 9:30–11:30a

**Yay Bikes! has been hired to lead a guided tour of Northeast Columbus that introduces cyclists to several types of roadways and bicycle infrastructure, and prepares them to safely and confidently navigate traffic. This ride is open to the general public! It will cover:

  • How the roadways and their infrastructure supports and/or complicates bicycling
  • Bicycle traffic law
  • Proper lane positioning
  • Avoiding common crashes
  • Interacting peacefully with motor vehicle traffic
  • Q&A on any additional bicycle-related topic of interest

Can’t attend a work session, presentation or the ride? Share your input on the Connect Columbus website!

Catherine Girves appointed to the new Central Ohio Greenways board

Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 10.14.11 AM

As of June 11, 2015, Catherine Girves has officially been appointed as a member of the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC)’s Central Ohio Greenways (COG) Board. Her term will run through December 2016.

The COG Board will be a standing board on the Sustainability Advisory Committee that guides the economic and environmental sustainability activities of MORPC and its working groups. The board will provide input and direction on matters of regional importance as they pertain to trails in Central Ohio, addressing such topics as trail development, marketing, funding, education and programming. Its vision is to increase trails and trail usage for recreation and transportation.

Yay Catherine!

2015 Ride of Silence Recap

high street ride of silence
Hundreds of cyclists stretch the length of High Street through the Short North. Photo credit: Bryan Barr

We have so many people to thank for making this year’s Ride of Silence experience such a meaningful one:

Event Planning Chair—Kathleen Koechlin

Planning Team members—John Bannon, Eliza Farrel, Rob Hendricks, Pat Landusky, David Curran, Jeff Gove, Rahel Babb, Abby Rhodebeck

Sponsors—Ohio Department of Transportation, Westerville Bicycle Club,

Speakers—Mark Gibson (reading the Ride of Silence poem), Columbus Chief of Police Kim Jacobs (her comments are here), State Representative Mike Stinziano (his comments are here), Yay Bikes! Executive Director Catherine Girves (her comments are here).

Escorts—The Columbus Police Department

MediaThe Dispatch and nbc4i

Food truckTatoheads

PhotographerBryan Barr

Bagpiper—Scott Caputo

And—Leslie Strader, Office of the Mayor; Julie Walcoff and Michelle May, Ohio Department of Tranpostation

And+—All the riders who braved the chill, followed the rules and made a silent statement of solidarity with those whose lives have been impacted by unsafe driving.

Continue reading 2015 Ride of Silence Recap

Columbus Police Chief Kimberly Jacobs — 2015 Ride of Silence

chief jacobs ride of silence
Chief Jacobs addresses the crowd at Central Ohio’s 2015 Ride of Silence. Photo credit: Bryan Barr

The following is the full text from Chief Jacob’s comments at the Ride of Silence. We thank Chief Jacobs for her presence at the event and for her work to ensure the safety of everyone in our community.

My name is Kim Jacobs and I’m the Chief of Police for the City of Columbus. I’m here to speak and ride with you tonight on behalf of Mayor Coleman.

Recently many of us took to the streets to celebrate National Bike to Work Day. That was a fun and exciting day, seeing so many cyclists together making a statement. Today, the statement we make is a somber one as we remember and honor those who have tragically been killed or injured while riding a bike.

Many of you probably read about a great city employee, Bill Lewis. Bill and his intern Stephanie Fibelkorn were walking to a meeting, and had nearly made it to the bus stop just a block from where we stand now, when they were hit and killed as a result of a reckless driver. No, Bill wasn’t on his bike at the time, but he was using a public street, like we all do when we ride, with full rights to be there. Bill spent many years of his professional life advocating, planning and designing roadways to accommodate all users. We will continue this important work always in his memory. We miss him and fondly remember him and the others who have been killed while cycling.

Yay Bikes! Executive Director Catherine Girves — 2015 Ride of Silence

catherine ride of silence
Yay Bikes! Executive Director Catherine Girves addresses the crowd at Central Ohio’s 2015 Ride of Silence. Photo credit: Bryan Barr

The following is the full text from Catherine Girves’s comments at the Ride of Silence.

2/21/2014 Frederick Carey

3/18/2014 Zachary Kerns

3/22/2014 Joe Giampapa

5/8/2014 Cleo Turpin

5/30/2014 Glenn Barna

5/30/2014 Lafayette Orr

7/18/2014 Dorothy Miller

8/8/2014 Harvey Bell

Mike Schengelsberger

Steve Barbour

Brenda Hoffman

The list goes on . . . and on . . . and tragically on.

My name is Catherine Girves, and I am the Executive Director of Yay Bikes! Tonight we join thousands of others worldwide in a silent slow-paced ride to honor and remember people who have been injured or killed while riding their bikes on public roadways.

But we are not just here to remember, we are here to act so that another name is never added to the list of those we’ve already lost.

You were given a card when you arrived that will help you take action to create peaceful streets in our communities.

If you live or work here in Central Ohio, I ask you, I beg you, to participate in the planning process currently taking place to decide what our streets will look like for the next 30 years. The next set of public meetings for the Connect Columbus plan are from June 1st through the 4th. If you can’t make a meeting make comments on the web site, attend a future meeting, make sure your voice is heard. Make sure we are planning for safe streets for people who ride bikes.

At the Statewide level, I ask you to remind your legislators that roads need to be safe for those who ride bikes. Call or write your State legislator and ask them to co-sponsor HB 154 a law that would require people driving cars to give people riding bikes at least 3 feet when passing.

And at the Federal level – our wonderful Secretary of the US Department of Transportation, Secretary Foxx, has issued a challenge to every Mayor in the United States. The Mayors Challenge for Safer People and Safer Streets raises the bar for creating safe conditions for bicyclists and pedestrians. Mayor Coleman has accepted this challenge and the Department of Public Service is working in every area of the challenge. If you are not from Columbus, return to your home community and ask your Mayor to follow in kind.

Further, I make a personal ask of each of you. Ride roads in ways that are visible and predictable. Take the space you need to ensure your visibility to people driving cars. Signal your intentions to change lanes. Stop at lights and stop signs. Ride no more than two abreast. And ask every other person you ride with to do the same. In your everyday behaviors create safer streets for all.

I will not have another one of us lost. Join Yay Bikes! in demanding action in good street design, legislation to protect vulnerable road users, and enforcement of laws that protect people who ride bikes. Support us in educating people how to ride roads lawfully.

In a few moments we will head out to ride, two abreast on public roads. Maintain your position once we start. Silently honor those we have lost.

State Representative Michael Stinziano – 2015 Ride of Silence

Representative Stinziano addresses the crowd at Central Ohio’s 2015 Ride of Silence. Photo credit: Bryan Barr

The following is the full text from Representative Michael Stinziano’s comments at the Ride of Silence. We thank Rep Stinziano for his presence at the event and for his work to protect Ohio’s vulnerable road users.

I appreciate the invitation from Yay Bikes! to talk about the Ride of Silence and safety in our community. I am Representative Michael Stinziano and I am working within the Ohio House to improve safety for all road users.

In Ohio, an average of 1 person died or was seriously injured each day in bicycle-related crashes last year.

In just the Columbus region, there were 24 bicyclists involved in crashes, resulting in 21 serious injuries and three fatalities.

It is vital that drivers and bicyclists share the road. One death or injury is too many.

Research shows that one issue contributing to these crashes is speed. I recently introduced legislation to help combat the issue. If HB 107 is enacted into law, it will allow residents to petition a speed limit change for their own community. We feel that people lining in our diverse neighborhoods understand the traffic patterns they live with on a daily basis.

I am also co-sponsor of HB 154 which would require motorists to give bicyclists at least 3 feet when passing.

Safety is everyone’s responsibility. Many of you know the faces representing these tragic deaths. This event honors our loved ones who have been harmed on Ohio roads and improves awareness for all road users.

Everyone has the right to be on and use Ohio’s roads.


Provide input on the Connect Columbus Transportation Plan. Don’t Be shy!

ConnectColumbusThe City of Columbus is gathering input from residents, businesses and other stakeholders for the creation of Connect Columbus, a long-range multimodal transportation plan that will serve as a guide for future construction on City streets.

“Yay Bikes is delighted to be a member of the Community Advisory Group for this plan,” said Catherine Girves, Executive Director of Yay Bikes!. “We fully support the focus on enhancing equitable, healthy, and sustainable transportation between the places people live, work, and play in and around the City of Columbus”

The plan will emphasize improved safety and reduced congestion, and will promote economic development and a healthier, greener city that will continue to be competitive, attracting residents, employers and visitors.

 “We must invest in streets that are safer for pedestrians and bicycles and embrace other alternatives to individual cars,” said Mayor Michael B. Coleman.  “Everyone has a role in this process to help keep Columbus growing and one of the most vibrant cities in the nation for generations to come.”

 A series of open houses, workshops and community events will be held, focusing on three themes:  Vision and Goals; Generating New Project Ideas; and Evaluation of Projects.  Residents will be asked to comment on projects, community goals and policies relating to public transit, driving, cycling and walking in Columbus.  The schedule for the first meetings on the plan’s Vision and Goals include:

·         March 31,  6–8 pm at Christ Memorial Baptist Church, 3330 East Livingston Ave

·         April 1,  10am–2pm and 6-8pm at Columbus Urban League, 788 Mount Vernon Ave

·         April 2, 2015:  6–8pm at Downtown High School, 364 South 4th Street

Additional public meetings will be scheduled in the future.  Public comment will be incorporated in the Connect Columbus final plan which will produce policies, guidelines and plans that will help define, prioritize, and guide Columbus to implementing realistic goals and projects.  The plan will influence how local transportation dollars are invested in transit, pedestrian, bicycle, and roadway infrastructure.  The Connect Columbus planning process will also complement COTA’s Next Generation plan and MORPC’s Metropolitan Transportation Plan.

 “Connect Columbus represents the next best step in planning for a city that will add 500,000 by the year 2050,” said Councilmember Shannon G. Hardin, chair of the Public Service and Transportation Committee. “By working together to assess our diverse transportation needs, we will ensure a plan that is both sustainable and attractive to all of our community’s stakeholders.”

 The Connect Columbus planning process will be a two-year effort.  Residents are encouraged to visit an online forum to comment and for current information about Connect Columbus.

STAND up with Yay Bikes! for Transportation

Yay Bikes! is delighted to stand with The Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA), Ohio Public Transit Association, Mid Ohio Regional Planning  Commission, Franklin County Commissioners, Conference of Minority Transportation Officials, Women’s Transportation Seminar (Columbus), Transit Columbus, Yay Bikes!, and other transportation supporters across the country who are hosting events in honor of National Transportation Infrastructure Day on April 9, 2015.

We stand together in advocating for equitable distribution of resources for sustainable transportation. Events around the nation will highlight and strongly advocate on behalf of a long-term, sustainable and reliable federal transportation funding bill. The extension of the current transportation funding bill, known as MAP-21, expires on May 31, 2015.

The Central Ohio event will bring together municipal, county, regional and state government leaders, transportation professionals and advocates, trade groups, contractors, business and community leaders.

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!

Review OSU’s bicycle accommodation plan and we’ll pass along your comments

OSU’s map of proposed bicycle infrastructure

As recently reported on Columbus Underground, OSU has released a draft of its Comprehensive Transportation and Parking Plan. Yay Bikes! will be meeting with OSU planners and staff during the week of December 8 to provide input on the plan, and we are excited to pass on the genius thoughts of our community members. Continue reading Review OSU’s bicycle accommodation plan and we’ll pass along your comments