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Bikes Belong

Bikes Belong January 2011 News

01.20.2011
Boulder, Colorado

Federal funding for bicycling threatened?

A change in leadership in the House of Representatives coupled with a new outlook on spending priorities could threaten key federally funded bicycling programs. Crucial decisions may be made by Congress in late February or early March that could affect bike funding for several years. Bikes Belong and our partners in the America Bikes Coalition are working on a multi-tiered strategy to preserve bike projects and programs.

Rep. Jim Oberstar of Minnesota, former chair of the House Transportation & Infrastructure (T&I) Committee, lost his bid for a 19th term in Congress and no longer brings his pro-bicycling perspective and influence to federal transportation policy decisions. He has been replaced by Rep. John Mica of Florida.

As of this writing, the new Congress and new committees have only been on the job for a couple weeks. But early indications from House leaders suggest they may attempt to cut federal transportation funding and refocus it on highway construction and repairs. Transit, bicycling and walking, and programs that reduce congestion and air pollution in cities could be targeted for disproportionate cuts. These budget decisions won't be made solely by the House of Representatives: The U.S. Senate and the Obama Administration will also weigh in, and both -- like the House -- have steadily supported modest investments in bike facilities and programs.

We will respond by meeting face-to-face with key members of Congress during the next seven weeks, emphasizing the economic benefits of bicycling, and reminding U.S. Representatives that bike investments generate lots of bang for each dollar spent. Read more

More than 175,000 sign Peopleforbikes pledge in 2010

Bikes Belong's citizen outreach campaign, Peopleforbikes.org, is racing forward as 2011 begins. The campaign aims to unite one million bicyclists of all riding styles and abilities to encourage government leaders to support legislation that improves bike paths, lanes, trails, and other facilities. So far, more than 175,000 people have signed the pledge in support of better bicycling in America, including Lance Armstrong, Gary Fisher, and bike-friendly Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak.

In the coming months, Congress will consider the renewal of the federal transportation bill -- the largest single source for bicycling funding (see story above). Now, more than ever, it is important to show our elected leaders that Americans like us care about safe and convenient bicycling options. By uniting your voice with a million others, you can help build a national movement with the clout to improve bicycling in our country. How could Washington not listen when we tell them that Peopleforbikes.org has engaged one million people to support bicycling?

Whatever your background, whatever your bike, and wherever you ride -- everyone has a stake in building more bike lanes and trails, securing more funding for key biking and walking programs like Safe Routes to School, and influencing local and national policies to better support bicycling. Please take a minute to sign the pledge today, and share it with a friend, if you haven't already.

Cannondale and Shimano join Pro Purchase Program

Cannondale and Shimano have aligned with Fuji, Giant, Specialized, and Trek to fund the Bikes Belong Grant Program by participating in the Employee Pro Purchase Program. These Bikes Belong member companies collect a small donation from employees whenever bikes and equipment are sold at a pro-deal discount; this money in turn goes toward the Grant Program, which supports bike paths, lanes, trails, and BMX facilities, as well as advocacy efforts like car-free street days. "Bikes Belong is delighted to welcome Cannondale and Shimano into the Employee Pro Purchase Program," said Bikes Belong Vice President Bruno Maier. "More companies participating in the program means we'll be able to award more grants, and grants of greater value, to support bicycling projects throughout the U.S."

Read more

Learn more about the Bikes Belong Grant Program and Employee Pro Purchase Program.

Best Practices Program inspires cities to make bicycling great

In September, Bikes Belong led a fact-finding delegation of policy-makers and transportation officials from the San Francisco Bay Area on a five-day trip to the best major bicycling cities in the Netherlands, including Amsterdam, Utrecht, Rotterdam, and The Hague. The trip provided Bay Area leaders with an up-close look at world-class transportation networks, as well as fresh ideas for improving bicycling back home.

"There is a road map of do-able public policies we can adopt to get us to where the Dutch are today," observed San Francisco Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, one of the participants. Steady investment in bicycle infrastructure, programs, and education for the past four decades have enabled 27% of all trips in the Netherlands to be made on a bike, saving the Northern European nation millions in road construction costs while improving health and personal mobility. San Francisco estimates that 7% of its trips are currently made on two wheels, but the Board of Supervisors recently set a city-wide goal to grow that number to 20% by 2020.

More study tours and workshops for city officials are planned in 2011, taking place in leading bicycling cities like Copenhagen, Minneapolis, Portland, and New York.

For more information, see the 2010 Annual Report or visit bikesbelong.org/bestpractices.

Riders raise $16,000+ for Bikes Belong on Plus 3 Network

Thanks to the Plus 3 Network and Pedro's, riders, runners, and other athletes have raised more than $16,000 to date for the Bikes Belong Foundation. Members of Plus 3 track their physical activity through the network, earning donations from Pedro's for each mile biked or run, as well as time spent working out in other ways -- everything from baseball to badminton counts.

You can sign up to earn donations for Bikes Belong at Plus 3 today.

Quick Releases

- Bikes Belong is hiring a Graphic Designer.

- The Bikes Belong Coalition board elected three new officers at its November '10 board meeting.

- "The Federal Investment in Bicycling: 10 Success Stories" is a new project developed to illustrate the benefits of bike facilities.

- Bikes Belong awarded five grants in the Fall 2010 grant cycle. These grants focus on providing seamless bicycle networks and building new trails in communities.

- The League of American Bicyclists launched the Bicycle Friendly Universities Program in late 2010 to acknowledge academic institutions that support bicycling.

- SRAM invested $1.2 million in the Alliance for Biking and Walking's and League of American Bicyclists' Advocacy Advance initiative, which aims to double federal bike funding by 2013.

Facts & Stats

- Researchers examined 14 countries, 50 U.S. states, and 47 U.S. cities and found that cycling was associated with lower obesity rates at all geographic levels.
Pucher, J., et al., Walking and Cycling to Health: A comparative analysis of city, state, and international data, American Journal of Public Health

- The annual cost of being obese is $4,879 for a woman and $2,646 for a man.
Associated Press, "Report: Obesity hurts your wallet and your health," September 20, 2010

- After two streets in Minneapolis were converted to be more bicycle friendly, bike traffic increased 43%, total vehicle crashes decreased, traffic efficiency was maintained, and parking revenues remained consistent.
City of Minneapolis, 2010

Visit our searchable Statistics Library for more fast facts to make the case for bicycling.

###

Contacts
Bikes Belong
303-449-4893
mail@bikesbelong.org
www.bikesbelong.org

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