Restroom Advocacy for Bicyclists and Walkers

Advocacy Letters

Subject: Restroom Advocacy for Bicyclists Virginia Bicycling Federation
Attn: Allen Muchnick, President
Ref: Jan 30, 2002 email note (attached below)

Dear Allen

Thank you, for your thoughtful response.

As mentioned, while not a major bike issue, the availability of public restrooms is a concern for some bicyclists, particularly women.  Cold weather shortens the interval between needing a “pit” stop.   Winter is also the time when most public restrooms are closed.   Men, often at variance with ‘civility laws”, can get by, but for women the option is to not ride.

The last paragraph of the web page asks for portable toilets to be placed by park restrooms that are closed for the winter.   This concept should be an element on the agenda of all caring bicycle, pedestrian and non-motorized advocates.

Additionally, publishers of bicycle route and trail maps should be encouraged to include public restroom location icons.  Where relevant, seasonal and time-of-day restrictions should be noted.   Certain commercial establishments, such as fast food outlets and bike shops, ‘might’ agree to be listed as a bicycle friendly ‘restroom resource’.

Those responsible for heated facilities near bicycle commuter routes should be encouraged to keep them open year round.   Similarly, facilities that must be closed should have a portable toilet placed near-by.   (Chemical toilets require significantly less service in the winter months)

Having the ‘Friends of the W&OD Trail’ use portable toilets to shorten the gap between permanent facilities is encouraging.  Hopefully the Regional Park Authority will take notice.

When it comes public restrooms, the oft-maligned National Park Service is the year-round cyclists best friend.  Having bicycle and pedestrian advocacy organizations identify and thank the appropriate individuals would be a win-win action. Thank you for the opportunity to address this issue.

Sincerely, Robert A. Brubaker

— Original Message —–

Sent: Wednesday, January 30, 2002 5:46 PM
Subject: Re: Restroom Advocacy for Bicyclists

Dear Robert,

I agree that the availability of public toilets is important for bicycling. I often need them myself while riding.  Please let me know how the Virginia Bicycling Federation can raise awareness of the issue or can support public toilet facilities at specific locations.

In response to surveys and in unsolicited comments, users of  the Washington & Old Dominion Trail have identified public toilets as an important park amenity.  Consequently, the Friends of the W&OD Trail is placing rented porta potties at new locations along that 45-mile trail to eliminate long gaps without public toilets.

Allen Muchnick



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