HEY BIKE PARTIERS!
As many of you know, the “rules” of the Bike Party rides have been a little in flux over the past year as we continue to grow as an event and evolve in our relationship with the city. I know it hasn’t always been clear what we will be doing month to month, so I am going to take a moment here to lay it all out.
Here are some facts:
– If we have a police escort, as a permitted event, we usually will have permission to stay as one group, in a grand processional through red lights.
– If we do NOT have a police escort, we, ALL of us, are expected to yield right-of-way to cross traffic at red lights as we would if we were regular bikers on the street.
– Police escort for each ride costs $2500, per event, for Bike Party, at bare bones minimum.
– The organizers of Bike Party are adamant about it always remaining a FREE event, open to all.
– Through after party beer and wine sales, we usually bring in $2500-3000 a month. After security, bathrooms, insurance, permits, and other expenses, that is about what it costs us each month to put the event on. As you can see, this leaves no room to pay for a police escort for the ride.
“So what can *I* do about this?” Well I’m glad you asked! Here are a few options if you like the idea of us riding in one large group, uninterrupted.
– You can give us $2500 a month (how generous of you!).
– You can email us at email@example.com and say “Hey guys! I would love to offer my services to help you pursue grant and/or sponsorship opportunities!”
– If you really want to, you can write your city official(s) and say “Dear so-n-so, this is why Bike Party is so amazing and while I understand that you have a big job to do and resources are limited, this is why I think it’s important to support it in any way you can.”
In the meantime, however, THIS IS WHAT WE NEED from all of our riders for the October ride and through the winter months. We need EVERYONE to abide by the “West Coast Rules.” Trust us, it’s not that bad. Thousands and thousands of people ride this way in other Bike Parties in other cities every month and still have an awesome time. If you don’t remember, or have never seen the “West Coast Rules,” I’m going to lay them out again right now!
1) Stop when you have a red light. Yield to the traffic that has the right of way. Getting hit by a car would definitely put a buzzkill on your evening. Don’t worry, the group ahead of you will not get too far, and the people with you at the light are certainly pretty awesome. Just look at that ridiculous costume!
2) Check out the route. We always post a map and cue sheet on the event page and website in case you need to catch up.
3) If you come up behind vehicles stopped at an intersection, stay behind them. Otherwise once the light turns green they are going to have their bumper on your back wheel, not a great situation! Let them go ahead first when the light turns green.
4) Don’t crowd or block-in moving vehicles. Most drivers, once they see us massing up behind them, will choose to turn left or right and take an alternate route. Be sure to leave them that opportunity!
5) Ride ONLY in lanes of traffic going the same direction you are. You are never going to win a game of chicken with a car, and you may not know when a car will suddenly turn towards you on the street.
6) Don’t ride on the sidewalks. Leave those for the kiddos and little old ladies. We have plenty of room taking up the whole street.
7) If we DO have any police officers helping us along in a particular area, always defer to their guidance. Often they will hold up traffic for us to continue, which is always appreciated!
8) Hold each other accountable to these rules. There are 3 of us who organize this event. Even with help from our friends, there is no where near enough of us to manage the entire length of the ride. Don’t let other people ruin the fun!
To help you remember all this, we have a handy infographic attached here. Remember, this is not my party, this is not an event “hosted” by the organizers that you are attending. Bike Party is YOUR event. It is as amazing and wonderful and successful as you make it. Bike Party was created because we believe Baltimore is a beautiful place with beautiful people, so let’s keep that love growing. See y’all on Halloween!
Baltimore Bike Party