Meet a PAL Ambassador: Crash
Being a PAL is so much fun. Learn a little bit about one of our Ambassador All-Stars!
The PAL Ambassador Program is a community of volunteers to inspire more Predictable, Alert, and Lawful road culture in Arlington County. Bike billboards, pizza nights, and block parties — all on your commute home. BikeArlington launched the PAL campaign 2 years ago with the strong sentiment that no matter who we are or how we choose to get around town, our roadways depend on a strong social contract. Whether we’re walking, driving, or biking we rely on our fellow road-users to be PALs; Predictable. Alert. Lawful.
Let’s get to know one of the volunteers!
All of the PAL Ambassadors call you Crash…what kind of name is that?!
I once T-boned a police car on my bicycle in the rain. No one was seriously injured.
What are your favorite things about Arlington? What do you like to do?
I’ve lived here for about six years and it’s a vibrant community with so much diversity and things going on. As small as it is, each corner has a different feel and culture to it. Ballston, Crystal City, West Columbia Pike, Rosslyn. What makes Arlington really unique though is the “Arlington loop”. The 17-mile interconnected connected trail system for walking, bicycling, rollerblading, stroller-pushing, etc, whatever you want to use it for. I don’t imagine many other areas have such a well used and well maintained trail system. There are also lots of outdoor events, but one of my favorites is the free outdoor movies. Lots of people come out to them.
The Predictable, Alert and Lawful message is aimed at everyone in the community: bicyclists, pedestrians and drivers. Which do you see yourself as?
I’m definitely all three. I own a car but I commute to and from work by bicycle. Being in all three roles definitely makes you better at all three. When I’m driving, pedestrians will illegally cross in the crosswalk when I’m going through the intersection! What are they thinking? When I’m bicycling, cars will change lanes or turn without using their turn signal! What are they thinking? When I’m walking, bicycles will pass me with little room to spare without notifying me with an audible signal! What are they thinking? Using each mode makes me understand what I can do better in the others.
Describe your involvement as a PAL Ambassador and what you enjoy about volunteering.
Not going to lie, I saw something in a bicycle newsletter about a pizza party and I can’t turn down food. That was many years ago and now the advocacy is more interesting than the pizza to me. Being a PAL Ambassador is pretty simple, the most important thing is to practice the PAL principles. The aspect I like the most is seeing people from the community being brought together. Volunteering at a big event like Bike To Work Day is amazing because you see how massive the bicycle community is. Volunteering at smaller events like our block parties is amazing because you get to meet families with young children who genuinely enjoy spending wholesome, quality time together outside.
Why do you think the PAL program is important and relevant to the Arlington community?
Arlington is a perfect intersection of cars, bicycles, and pedestrians. Commuters going into DC by car go through Arlington. Arlington is dense enough that Arlingtonians can easily walk to restaurants and bars. We have fantastic bicycle infrastructure and services so that most of us can either bicycle the complete distance to where we want to go or use it for some of our journey. These three modes of transportation aren’t separate; cars share the lane with bicycles, bicycles may need to share the sidewalk with pedestrians, and pedestrians cross streets used by cars and bikes. Where there’s a feeling of disconnect between the modes is where problems can happen, and the PAL Ambassadors are out there to remind people to put more thought into their behavior.
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