Category Archives: advocacy


How advocacy gets done, Yay Bikes!-style

During the past 6 weeks we have led more than 40 transportation planning and design professionals — via the Connect Columbus project and MORPC-funded professional development rides with Columbus Public Service, MORPC and ODOT employees — on educational rides throughout the city, in groups of 1 to 5 people


And over and over, we’ve heard how the experience of riding with us has helped participants reconsider their approach to infrastructure design, as well as how they’ve been inspired to make these rides standard operating procedure for all transportation professionals, both locally and throughout the state. Here’s just a taste of the feedback we received:

“[My favorite part of the ride was]…being able to see the integration between the designs on paper, the cyclist themselves, and the driver interaction and how it all comes together. There are definitely eye opening things when riding out on the streets first hand and I would recommend all designers/operations people experience it to have that background knowledge.”

Wow.  See THIS is how infrastructure advocacy is done, folks. One intimate ride at a time, with the teams who determine what is designed and what is funded. Getting professionals out on bikes, making connections between designs on paper and the lived experience of bicycling — well, it just makes all the difference. So this is what we do at Yay Bikes!. It’s why we’re unique.

It’s also why we ask for your support. Because teaching people well takes something more than a brochure or a video or a list of tips. It takes a thoughtful, meaningful interaction that fosters learning and growth. Which is, admittedly, quite the investment of organizational resource — but one that we can already see will prove long on returns for Ohio’s bicycling community.

Follow the links to read more about our Connect Columbus and ODOT rides.


YB! leads professional development ride with ODOT safety team

ODOT ride
ODOT’s safety team on a professional development ride led by Yay Bikes! Photo credit: Steve Puhl Jr

On July 21, 2015, Yay Bikes! ride leaders Catherine Girves and Meredith Joy, along with trusty sweeps Steve Puhl Jr and Julie Walcoff, led a group of 8 Ohio Department of Transportation professionals on a tour of bicycle facilities on Columbus’ South and East sides. This group represented the Safety Team, aka the folks determining which safety projects — including bicycle infrastructure projects — throughout the state will receive funding. Most of them had ridden trails but not roads, and a couple hadn’t ridden a bike since childhood, so this ride proved the first urban riding experience for our group.

An uncomfortably pregnant Meredith Joy preps the group for departure at Grange Audubon Center. Photo credit: Julie Walcoff

Split into 2 groups of 4, the cyclists rode a challenging 10-mile (or 12-mile, if they were in the accidental wrong-way group!) route beginning at the Grange Audubon Center and hitting the following streets: Front, Main, Grant, Town, Parsons, Livingston, Ohio and Champion, Oak, Washington, Gay, Broad, 3rd, Fulton, High and Whittier. Along the way, they got to experience sharrows, bike lanes to nowhere, bike lanes in door zones, unmarked narrow lanes, freeway on- and off-ramps, multi-lane one-ways and more. As well as the overwhelming heat of the day and, of course, the typical sights, smells & sounds that make bicycling so damn lovely. Everyone was heroic! Everyone was also very very hungry when we sat down to share our delicious post-ride meal at El Arepazo.

Here’s some of our early feedback from the ride:

Continue reading YB! leads professional development ride with ODOT safety team

Connect Columbus process includes bicycle tour of NE Columbus


Twenty-six people gathered to explore and learn to ride the roads of the Northland neighborhoods by bike on Friday, July 17, 2015, as part of the third Connect Columbus public input process. Some were transportation planners and engineers. Some were members of the general public. Some were experienced bicyclists learning to navigate roads they have not felt safe navigating on their own. Some were well trained Yay Bikes! leaders and sweeps, there to facilitate a moment of experiential learning. It was a blast!

We started at the Franklin County Board of Elections at 1700 Morse Road where our eight ride leaders and sweeps divided everyone into small groups. Each team of Yay Bikes! How We Roll ride leaders started by sharing rules of the road for bicyclists and teaching participants the importance of being visible and predictable when riding roads. Team leaders explained that in How We Roll rides participants travel single file in small groups riding the roads silently. Our goal is to help create an experience where small group instruction happens, and participants encounter something similar to riding roads alone.

Continue reading Connect Columbus process includes bicycle tour of NE Columbus

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.