Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Putting Lights Where They're Needed

Every year I work with WABA ( and Bike Arlington ( to give out bike lights to help people with being seen.  It saves lives!  This is really popular with volunteers as well as with the general public.  Any time I'm doing any kind of advocacy on the local trails, I get asked if "we" are going to be giving out lights again this year.  I say that we are, but that they should not let that keep them from purchasing lights and reflective gear on their own.  Lately the number of people who are perfectly capable of affording their own lights, but hold off so that they can get free ones from local advocacy groups kind of rubs me the wrong way.  I still do the main give-aways.  They are important, really help and are a very visible way of doing advocacy that improves cyclists standing in the community.  It is important outreach.  

I've started another quest of my own on the side though.  With the help of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association ( and its Suburban Outreach program, I've been going to un-official day labor sites early in the morning and at quitting time to give out lights to people who ride their bikes to and from every day.  I don't speak Spanish, but manage to make myself understood.  WABA has some great stickers in Spanish that I've been using as my business cards.  

The reception has been awesome!  I've visited 4 different day labor meet-up spots so far.  I've got a few more that I want to hit in the next week or two.   I've noticed many, many more people riding with lights as I make my early morning rounds.  

I started going to a few restaurant districts around 2 in the afternoon, when the dinner shift is arriving at work and handing out lights.  I don't hang around for closing, but I'm guessing the lights come in handy for the ride home.  

I love seeing the lights we all give away on the bike paths of the DC metro area.  Seeing some in other areas being ridden before dawn and after dark makes me even more happy.  

Rock on!

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