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Bikes Belong

Bikes Belong January News

Boulder, Colorado

Federal funding for bicycling: The challenges continue

The long-term status of federal transportation funding, including support for bicycling infrastructure, remains uncertain.

Current funding is guided by a law called SAFETEA-LU that was originally approved in July 2005, expired in September 2009, and has been extended by Congress eight times since then. The latest extension expires March 31, 2012 -- making the next few months a crucial period for federal bicycling advocacy.

Congress appears to be closer to passing a new, long-term bill than it has been since 2008. Current proposals for that bill don't back bicycling in the ways that SAFETEA-LU has. A small sum of dedicated funding has been key to bicycling's recent growth and safety advances, but none of the current draft versions of the next bill include this element.

When Congress reconvenes this week, their transportation priority will be Federal Aviation Administration legislation. Once (and if) they get through that, they are likely to turn to the overall transportation bill.

By the end of March, Congress must either approve a new, multi-year bill or extend SAFETEA-LU again. Either way, bicycling investments are likely to be challenged.

Bikes Belong will likely issue a call to action to our members to weigh in with their members of Congress about the economic and overall benefits of continuing this dedicated support for bicycling infrastructure. The support group -- now nearly a half million strong -- will rally as well. Finally, the annual National Bike Summit, held March 20-22 in Washington, will serve as a well-timed opportunity to reiterate our key points on Capitol Hill.


Peopleforbikes 2011 update

Bikes Belong's (PFB) movement grew by 183% in 2011, from just 150,000 supporters to more than 425,000. That's 425,000 people who have now signed the pledge in support of better, safer bicycling in America. This makes PFB the largest unified group of bicycling advocates nationwide and a movement with exceptional clout and potential.

We've rallied the PFB troops four times so far to help us show how much Americans care about the federal investment in bicycling, and we've asked supporters to speak out on local issues, too. More than 100,000 letters have been sent to U.S. Representatives and Senators by our followers. Each time we achieved our desired legislative outcome, which is preserving dedicated funding for cost-effective bike infrastructure and programs.

More than 40% of our first 200,000 supporters are not yet involved with any other bike organization, club, or initiative, and there was little crossover between our letter-writers and others groups' during our most recent call-to-action. We're bringing in reinforcements to fight on behalf of bicycling -- one of the primary goals of PFB from its inception. We aim to reach 750,000 supporters in 2012.

Join the movement...

Best Practices and ThinkBike workshops spark imaginations

The Bikes Belong Foundation holds fact-finding workshops for transportation leaders in world-famous bicycling cities like Copenhagen and Amsterdam. Urban planners, policy-makers, and traffic engineers network with international experts and return home equipped with fresh ideas and proven solutions for making bicycling a safe, comfortable transportation choice. Dutch cities are among the safest and most welcoming for bicycle transportation -- in some city centers nearly half of all trips are made on bike.

ThinkBike Workshops, supported by the Dutch Embassy, bring Dutch transportation experts to American cities for intensive two-day design workshops to help with the challenge of translating Dutch knowledge into solutions to real-world traffic problems in American cities. A recent workshop in Los Angeles inspired locals to reimagine Spring Street (pictured), a major downtown corridor, to include bicycle facilities that could be used comfortably by anyone.

The ideas generated during the workshop evolved and were formally implemented in late 2011.

Four cities receive REI Best Practices Grants

The Bikes Belong Foundation, supported by a generous grant from REI, awarded grants to four cities participating in the Bicycling Design Best Practices Program. Each city sent representatives on a Best Practices study tour or workshop to learn about world-class bicycling design and implementation, and each city submitted an amenity or infrastructure proposal based on their learning from the trip. Local REI stores will partner with the awardees to share information about the improvements.

The REI Best Practices Grants were designed to jumpstart a participating city's ability to put proven and effective bicycling elements in place, advance the state of bicycle transportation practices nationally, measure the return in increased ridership and safety, and make the case for additional improvements while having a positive effect on bicycling in the short term.

The awardees -- Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, and Pittsburgh -- will install and measure their improvements over the next year.

Read more about the four projects these grants will support.

Martha Roskowski joins Bikes Belong staff

Martha Roskowski, a widely respected expert in developing urban bicycling solutions, will head a new campaign to fast track the installation of safe bike facilities in U.S. cities.

Since 2004, Roskowski has served as the director of GO Boulder -- the Colorado city's highly regarded bicycle-pedestrian-transit program. Roskowski is the former campaign manager of America Bikes, the national bike advocacy coalition. She also served seven years as executive director of Bicycle Colorado, the statewide bike advocacy group.

"Martha brings a wealth of experience from the local, state and federal levels, so we're thrilled she is now part of the team," said Tim Blumenthal, president of Bikes Belong.

Performance Bicycle becomes newest Bikes Belong member

Performance Bicycle, the nation's largest specialty cycling retailer, is the newest member of the Bikes Belong Coalition. Additionally, Performance Bicycle CEO David Pruitt will serve on the Bikes Belong Coalition Board of Directors.

"We're thrilled to have Performance Bicycle in the coalition, and that David has agreed to serve on our Board," said Tim Blumenthal, president of Bikes Belong. "Performance's membership will not only increase the visibility of our organization, but most importantly, help us build awareness for cycling and get more Americans on bikes. Their participation will help us advance cycling through events, grant programs, advocacy and more."


Quick Releases

- Bikes Belong recently awarded $62,500 in funding to five Community Grants projects and two Bicycle Research Grants projects. These awards support innovative bicycle projects and studies with the common goal of putting more people on bicycles more often.

- The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recently announced an expanded three-year commitment to the Safe Routes to School National Partnership. Kaiser Permanente has also renewed and increased its backing for this important effort. - Next week the Alliance for Biking & Walking will release the much-anticipated 2012 Benchmarking Report, which compiles important data on biking and walking from all 50 U.S. states and 51 most-populous cities.

- The League of American Bicyclists and the Alliance for Biking & Walking are continuing the effort to help advocates and officials secure federal funding for bike-ped projects through the Advocacy Advance initiative, which includes several upcoming Action 2020 Workshops.

- In 2011, IMBA scored some great successes, from advancing mountain bike-friendly federal legislation to putting sweet singletrack on the ground across the U.S. See the full list and learn about what's next for 2012.

Facts & Stats

- The health benefits of Ciclovia events outweigh the costs by a factor of up to 4:1. Montes, F., et al., 2011, Do health benefits outweigh the costs of mass recreational programs? An economic analysis of four Ciclovia programs, Journal of Urban Health 2011

- Three bike paths in Central Florida bring $42 million to the local economy every year. East Central Florida Regional Planning Council, 2011, "Bike trails pump $42M into Central Florida economy, study says," Orlando Sentinel, 17 October 2011

- In Los Angeles, bicycling increased 32% between 2009 and 2011. Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, 2011, "Results are in: Cycling is on the rise in Los Angeles!"

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


Bikes Belong

More from Bikes Belong:
Industry Offers Insight into National Bike Summit Attendance
Bikes Belong May '05 Newsletter
Bikes Belong Awards $7,500 to National Parks Conservation Association
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New Federal Transportation Law Authorizes Billions for Bicycling
Bikes Belong Coalition Funds the Safe Routes to School National Partnership
Bikes Belong Announces $30,000 in Grant Awards
Bikes Belong Publishes Bicycling Booklet
Bikes Belong October Newsletter
Safe Routes to School National Partnership Launches
Bikes Belong Awards $26,400 in Grants
Bikes Belong Elects New Officers
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Pat Cunnane Joins Bikes Belong Board of Directors
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