Category Archives: advocacy

Our public input methodology & how to get involved

photoYay Bikes! members on a ride to evaluate proposed changes to 3rd and 4th Streets in downtown Columbus.

With our inaugural infrastructure input project about to be wrapped, we’re confident that this formula fits well with our culture and, more importantly, that it works.  Here’s the breakdown of how we’re going to handle each request we receive for cyclist feedback, and how you can get involved. Of course anyone may feel free to provide their own feedback directly to the city, whether in writing or at their public input meetings, but this is how Yay Bikes! will generate our official feedback on proposed infrastructure projects. Although our leadership is comprised of some damn impressive bicycle experts (ahem… if we do say so…!), we refuse to decide our advocacy positions from within a board room. We believe the process described below is a more robust and participatory process than you will find anywhere in the country, and we hope you will become a member so you can have your voice heard.

Notification of Opportunities

Yay Bikes! will announce opportunities to provide input on proposed plans on this blog, on our Facebook page and in our newsletter. Be sure you are linked to us in several ways to ensure you get the message!

Review of Proposed Plan

Yay Bikes! staff and volunteer leadership will review and discuss project design maps, drafting notes for and planning a group ride of the corridor(s).

Group Ride for Yay Bikes! Members

All Yay Bikes! members are invited to a group ride on which we evaluate the proposed bicycle accommodations. Staff will review maps with the group one hour before we ride, then catalog input from participants during the ride.

Follow-up Research

Yay Bikes! staff and volunteer leadership will conduct follow-up research based on input from the larger group, from which a written draft of feedback and recommendations for city staff will be prepared. This report will include:

  • What works well in the proposed design
  • Specific areas of concern with the proposed design
  • Potential solutions or mitigations
Engineers/City Staff Ride

Yay Bikes! staff will present the report in a short presentation to engineers and city prior to a group ride of the corridors’ proposed changes.

Final Revision & Submission

Yay Bikes! staff and volunteer leadership again revise their report based on  information from project staff and additional research, then formally submit it for consideration.

Publishing & Promoting Feedback

Yay Bikes! publishes its feedback to this blog and promotes both the process and its outcomes to various media outlets.

Participation in Public Discourse

Yay Bikes! staff and volunteer leadership participate, and organize others to participate, in the public discourse about the corridor being touched. This might include: providing testimony at public hearings, speaking to the press, writing letters to the editor, writing blog posts on the Yay Bikes! web site, posting items on Yay Bikes! social media outlets, encouraging communication from other bike friendly groups to their constituencies, attending public meetings, etc.

Rinse + Repeat

Become a GOOBI on the inaugural infrastructure commentary ride with Yay Bikes!

GOOBI: one who likes to Geek Out On Bicycle Infrastructure
Yay Bikes! has been asked by the City of Columbus, Department of Public Service to provide feedback regarding bicycle infrastructure proposed for 3rd and 4th Streets in downtown Columbus. To provide Public Service Director Davies and Deputy Director Gallagher with productive input on the designs, we are launching a new infrastructure ride crit series for our fellow GOOBIes,  through which we will ride the streets, imagine how the proposed changes will affect us as cyclists and deliver our commentary on a future ride with project staff. Here’s how it will work this time around:


October 15, 6–7:30pm – Interested Yay Bikes! members* are welcome ride with us to evaluate the proposed design and offer their thoughts about it. Registration is limited to 20 people, so let us know by Oct 14 that you’ll be joining us!

Later in October – Yay Bikes! leadership will again ride the route, this time with project staff, including engineers, and communicate the larger groups’ feedback.

Sometime thereafter — Yay Bikes! will publish a blog post about the experience and any outcomes from it.

Your patience is appreciated as we flesh out our infrastructure advocacy methodology. We hope to have fun with it, of course, and also to involve as many people in on-bike design commentary as possible. Our board and staff aren’t the only bike experts in town, and we aren’t going to act like we are. Our job is to coordinate the community’s response to proposed infrastructure, not dictate it. Please join us!

*This opportunity is a benefit of Yay Bikes! membership, and is open exclusively to our members. Please join today to ride with us on the 15th!

How We Roll gets more shout outs in Akron

share-the-road“If they were gangs they would be the Fearsome Fours vs. the Terrible Twos and their battleground is the streets of Akron and Summit County where the fight takes place every single day.

“Cars may rule the roads, but bicycles are an increasingly common sight on the streets. Both clans seem to want the other to get out of their respective way, while Akron officials would like for everyone to just get along.”  Read the full story at the Akron Beacon Journal.

Yay Columbus! Yay Safe Streets Ordinance! Yay Bikes!

What exactly does the Safe Streets Ordinance say?

  • clarifies that a bicycle IS A VEHICLE,

  • clarifies as the safe passing distance between a car and a bicycle as 3′, and most larger vehicles and a bicycle as 6′,

  • adds a specific ban for motor vehicles in bike lanes, with some exceptions,

  • clarifies the law to specifically prohibit motor vehicles from “right/left hooking” bicyclists,

  • requires bicyclists to not text, and to yield to emergency vehicles,

  • allows police officers, firefighters, parking enforcement officers, and special improvement district ambassadors to ride bicycles on sidewalks in the performance of official duties,

  • allows the Public Service Director to to add bikeways and bicycle parking on streets,

  • corrects conflicting language in the parking code,

  • brings traffic code into compliance with portions of state laws, and

  • adds gender inclusive language.

For more details, view 2014 Safe Streets Ordinance Fact Sheet or click to view the actual legislation.

Big thanks to Council Member Michelle Mills for sponsoring this legislation and shepherding it through the process to law, Council Members Zach Klein and Troy Miller for co-sponsoring, and Council Member Eileen Paley for meeting with Yay Bikes! leadership about this legislation back in 2012. Additional thanks to Leslie Strader, Policy Advisor from the Mayor Coleman’s Office of Environmental Stewardship, and Randall Bowman, Assistant Director of Public Service for meeting regularly with bicycle advocates as this legislation was being crafted.

Thanks to the 31 Yay Bikes! members who attended the last two City Council Meetings and the Public Hearing in the last week to support passage of the Safe Streets Ordinance: Rahel Babb, John Bannon, Heather Bowden, Jane Boyer, Jay Cheplowitz, Ken Cohen, David Curran, Jack Decker, David Docktor, Bill Ferriot, Ray George, Catherine Girves, Jeff Gove, Gloria Hendricks, Rob Hendricks, Talon Hendricks, Trace Hendricks, David Hohmann, Cartik Kothari, Kai Landis, Keith Mayton, Duane McCoy, Nik Olah, Joe Powell, Steve Puhl, Jr., Oulanje Regan, Gary Schmidt, Barb Seckler, Scott Ulrich, Jim Williams, and Megan Zale.

Finally, our work on this would not have been possible without those of you who financially support Yay Bikes! You rock.

Yay Bikes! Yay Us! You YOU!!


Safe Streets Ordinance – Testimony of Catherine Girves

Good evening President Ginther, Environment Chair Mills, Co-Sponsor Klein and Miller and to the remaining honorable members of Columbus City Council. Thank you for this opportunity to speak to you tonight. My name is Catherine Girves and I am the Executive Director of Yay Bikes! Tonight I am delighted and honored to be here representing the 517 members of Yay Bikes! Yes, Council Member Mills we have added 5 members since we were here last Tuesday.

Yay Bikes! is thankful to Columbus City Council for consideration of 1182-2014 the proposed “Safe Streets Ordinance”. This ordinance showcases our City’s commitment to peaceful streets for all users – transit riders and operators, motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists.

As a year round bicyclist, (yes I road here tonight in a skirt and heels), I can tell you from personal experience that bicycling is good for the physical and emotional health of individual riders. But what many don’t realize is, that when people choose bicycling as a mode of transportation everyone in the community benefits:

  • Commuter bicyclists protect the public health of the entire community by reducing carbon and other green house gas emissions protecting air quality for all, particularly our most vulnerable members of the community.
  • Commuter bicyclists reduce dependence on fossil fuels protecting the environment, economy, and national security of the entire community.
  • Like pedestrians, commuter bicyclists increase the safety and community cohesiveness of the neighborhoods we ride in, often functioning as informal block watches.
  • And when people Discover Columbus by bike we see an economic impact. Yay Bikes! leads “How We Roll” rides teaching bicyclists to ride streets legally, visibly, and predictably. Immediately following, participants take a short test. When asked how likely participants are to return to places they were introduced to on these rides, 75%-77% respond they are very likely and an additional 20% report they are somewhat likely to return to those locations. When we conduct a 6 week follow up survey we find that 53.3% have already returned to a place they were initially introduced to on a “How We Roll” ride. When asked about favorite moments on these rides, 29% name a specific business, 26% name downtown Columbus and its sites, and 23% respond Experiencing Columbus and learning more about the community.

This Council’s investment in the safety of bicyclists that travel our streets is an investment in the entire community.

Finally, investing in commuter bicyclists is an investment in social justice. Some of us who travel by bike, do it out of economic necessity. Protecting the safety of commuter bicyclists protects the safety of working class people traveling to work, school, shop, and back home to our families.

Thank you.

Vote on 3-foot passing rule coming to a vote at Columbus city council

3 feetnbc4i reports The proposed “safe street ordinance” would:”

  • Require a distance of three feet when motorists pass cyclists.
  • Remove the requirements for overtaken vehicles to give way to the right in favor of the passing vehicle.
  • Remove the requirement to audibly signal when passing another vehicle.
  • Require the passing vehicle to change lanes if necessary when passing cyclists when an additional lane of traffic is available.

Read it here

Safe Streets Ordinance – Testimony of Rob Hendricks

Hello, Council Members. Thank you for your time. My name is Rob Hendricks and I live in Linden. I am a cyclist, my wife is a cyclist, my 13 year old son is a cyclist, and my 8 year old son is a cyclist. We don’t just ride for fun, we ride for transportation. We learned early on that cars, trucks, and buses will try to squeeze past us on the road almost every chance they can get. On my commute to work, I have been forced off the road on a regular basis, I even had a school bus physically contact me in my shoulder, forcing me off the road. Just last week, my wife was forced off the road by a passing truck, going fast enough and close enough that the wind made her bike shudder, almost forcing her to completely lose control. Passing a safe passing law and educating the drivers about its existence will help us to return from work safely to our children. It will give us room for our family to get to our destination and return home safely together. Regardless of the comments in the Dispatch articles, we are not trying to outrace Lance Armstrong, we are Fathers, Mothers, Sons, Daughters, Brothers, and Sisters just trying to get from point A to point B.

Photographed by Rachael Willet of Willet Photography
Photographed by Rachael Willet of Willet Photography


Safe Streets Ordinance Hearing – Testimony of Catherine Girves

Good evening Council Member Mills. Thank you for this opportunity to speak to you today. My name is Catherine Girves, I’m the Executive Director of Yay Bikes! and am honored to be here representing our 512 members.
Yay Bikes! is thankful to you and the other members of Columbus City Council for consideration of 1182-2014 the proposed “Safe Streets Ordinance”. If adopted, this ordinance helps to clarify appropriate interactions between motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians – creating an even clearer commitment for safe and peaceful streets for all users.
The Yay Bikes! Board of Directors is particularly pleased with the following components of this legislation:

  • clarifying that a bicycle is a vehicle in the definition of vehicles and throughout the legislation,
  • clarifying that the law explicitly prohibits motorists from “left or right hooking” bicyclists,
  • clarifying that bicyclists are protected under the law from being doored by motorists, and
  • affirming that motorists must pass cyclists at a safe distance and defining a safe distance as at least 3′ for automobiles and 6′ for most commercial vehicles

We are particularly appreciative of the many opportunities provided to Yay Bikes! and other advocates in the community of bicyclists to respond to earlier drafts of this legislation and for the thoughtful responses given to all comments. This legislation has clearly been influenced by those of us who ride the street on a daily basis. Thank you.
We are here tonight to support this legislation and are excited about coming back to Chambers next week when Council is scheduled to take action on this proposed legislation. This ordinance is a wonderful step in the direction of creating peaceful streets for motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Thank you.