LACBC Storms Washington D.C. for National Bike SummitMarch 14, 2013 at 1:50 pm | Posted in Bike News | 2 Comments
Tags: National Bike Summit
There’s nothing quite like a national conference of leaders in the bike movement to inspire us and recharge our batteries for the coming months. Last week, 750 bicyclists from around the country descended on our nation’s capital to ask congress to support active transportation. LACBC was represented alongside over 70 Californians making the trek east, including our own Jen Klausner, Eric Bruins, Colin Bogart and Alek Bartrosouf. Also in our posse were chapter leader Cynthia Rose of Santa Monica Spoke, LACBC board member April Economides (who co-presented on Bike-Friendly Business Districts and Bike Tourism), and Dan Dabek from C.I.C.L.E.. Cody Phillips, a college student and mountain biker from Altadena, also joined us to meet with congressional staff.
This year’s National Bike Summit was jam packed with information and inspiration thanks to a timely Bikes Mean Business theme and the second annual National Women’s Bicycling Forum. We were addressed by livable streets luminaries including U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and New York City Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. There were also plenty of breakout sessions on diverse topics such as the economic impacts of bike tourism and mountain bike access in national parks. Most interesting for wonks like me (Eric) was the research commissioned by the League of American Bicyclists uncovering what policymakers actually think of us, and how we can shape our messaging to most effectively reach them. Another highlight was the release of a joint PSA between AAA and the League asking people to “Share the Road”. Much of the conference was recorded on video and posted to the League’s blog, for your viewing pleasure.
Shadowed by Bicycle Retailer and Industry News magazine, we met with staff from 17 of the 18 members of Congress that represent part of LA County and both of California’s senators. We asked our representatives to:
1) Join the Congressional Bike Caucus chaired by Democrat Earl Blumenauer of Oregon and Republican Tom Petri of Wisconsin,
2) Come to an event or see a project in your district, and
3) Sign on to a letter to Secretary Ray LaHood about performance metrics for the Highway Safety Improvement Program.
For a bit of background on ask #3: the federal transportation bill passed last year, known as MAP-21, devolves most transportation decision-making to the state and local level. But, it also charges the U.S. Department of Transportation with creating performance metrics against which states will be evaluated for effectiveness in spending their federal money. As anyone who’s ever been to school knows, when your teacher tells you what’s on the test, that’s what you spend your time studying. We are asking USDOT to create a specific metric for bicycle and pedestrian safety so that states will be held accountable for their results. This is important because when you just tell a highway engineer to make a road “safer”, they will usually make it wider and straighter, which we all know encourages drivers to go even faster and makes it less safe for those walking and biking. But, when you ask a highway engineer to make a road safer for bicyclists and pedestrians, they’ll design projects that make the road safer for everyone, including shoulders on rural roads and bike lanes or even cycletracks on city streets.
Thanks to the League for putting on an amazing summit and keeping us up-to-date during the overhyped “snowquester.” And thank you to our members for supporting this incredibly important work.