League of American Bicyclists Newsletter - March 30, 2009
March 30, 2009
Ten days ago, I had the privilege of testifying before a Select Committee of the House of Representatives on the topic of climate change. Preparing and delivering the testimony really brought home to me the unique and incredible opportunity we have to influence our common future right now - if we speak up; and if we make our case effectively at the local level. That's why I'm excited at all the news in this edition of our e-news, especially the nine state and local bike summits scheduled this coming month!
Andy Clarke, President
Spring is in the air and people's thoughts inevitably turn to bicycling. Sadly, we are already seeing the predictable rash of not very bright minds turning on bicycling and bicyclists - from members of Congress to radio show hosts (yes, again...) and newspaper readers. See the latest examples, and some possible rejoinders, at the League's "trash talk" page, and also check out this excellent response by Dean Schott and the League of Illinois Bicyclists to some horrible comments posted by readers in response to tragic crashes.
U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency & Conservation Block Grant Program
Last week, Vice President Biden and Energy Secretary Chu announced the launch of the Department's new $2.6 billion Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program (EECBG) to help states and local governments achieve energy and environmental goals. The program does allow funds to be spent on bicycle and pedestrian improvements and updating zoning/codes for smart growth. To see a list of entities eligible for formula grants and allocation amounts, click here. To obtain a copy of the Funding Opportunity Announcement, which contains complete information for grantees on the Program and application process, go to FedConnect and search for Reference Number DE-FOA-0000013. Read more.
State & Local News
Nine Bike Summits this April!
Looking ahead to April, it's pretty exciting to see no fewer than NINE state and local bike summits on the calendar. We encourage you to sign up and participate in the events that are in your neck of the woods - and if there isn't one near you, maybe there should be...!
Alaska - Anchorage plays host to the first Alaska Summit since 2001. Click here for the agenda.
Delaware - The First State sees its first Bike Summit in Dover.
Oregon - The state's forth summit, and the first in Salem with a tight legislative agenda.
Idaho - A more low key active transportation summit with a strong bike emphasis. Contact George Knight at email@example.com for information.
West Virginia - Stung by a low Bicycle Friendly America state ranking, West Virginia residents are starting at the top with a function at the Governors Mansion in Charleston.
Westchester County, NY - This is the first Summit for this well-heeled NYC suburb that is starting to embrace bicycling.
Florida - The first legislative day for bicyclists in many years takes place in Tallahassee.
Wisconsin - The legislature had better watch out as Wisconsin cyclists decide how to overhaul Washington state in the rankings and move on to world class cycling status!
Madison Drivers Enforced to Look Before Opening Car Doors
Madison, Wisconsin is taking legal measure to make it safer for bicyclists riding near cars parked on the street. The City Council recently voted to make it illegal for someone to open the door of a parked or standing vehicle into traffic without checking to make sure it's safe. The new law also makes it illegal for someone to leave a door open facing traffic for an unreasonable time. Failing to check before opening a door carries a $100 fine and leaving a door open too long will cost $50. Visit the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin for more information. Source Madison State Journal
Kentucky Bicycle & Bikeway Commission has Approved First Two Grants
Minneapolis:1,000 Bikes for Sharing & State-of-the-Art Bike Center
Two ground-breaking bicycling programs, laying the groundwork for the next generation of bike travel in the Twin Cities, were announced this March by Transit for Livable Communities (TLC), the nonprofit organization that administers Bike Walk Twin Cities. Topping the list of new metro investments to increase biking and walking in the Twin Cities were:
A bike share program, featuring 1,000 bikes located at 75 security kiosks throughout Minneapolis, and
A first-of-its kind frequent bike rider program, powered by a radio frequency identity system (RFID), which will be installed in conjunction with the new University of Minnesota Bike Center.
These two endeavors plus four other biking and walking projects will receive more than $4 million in grants from Bike Walk Twin Cities, a federally-funded program to increase biking and walking and decrease driving in the metro area. Today's grants are the third in a series of awards announced since 2007 when Bike Walk Twin Cities launched.
Texas Safe Passing Bill
Texas has safe passing bills pending in both the house and senate this legislative session. Visit www.biketexas.org for info.
Smart Cycling Conference 2009
The Smart Cycling Conference is ramping up, and it is destined to be a great one. The League's education program is in the middle of a complete overhaul. Since 2008, we've launched Traffic Skills 101, Traffic Skills 201, Group Riding, and completely revised our Commuter Student curriculum. What's left? Everything! Our kids manuals need to be redone, and our entire League Cycling Instructor Curriculum has to be overhauled. And we need your help!
Come to San Jose this summer to talk about the best way to teach cyclists; to help the League continue to improve our curricula; and to hear news and updates from the foremost cycling educators in the world.
We've lowered our fees by more than 30 percent this year. All fees increase by $100 after the earlybird deadline of May 1. Register today!
National Bike Summit Rewind
As Congress is scheduled to be on Easter recess from April 6 through April 20, please take this opportunity to contact your Representative and Senators district offices to schedule a meeting and find out about any town hall meetings your Member may be doing. For those of you who were able to attend the National Bike Summit this will give you a great opportunity to follow back home, and for those of you who were not able to attend the Summit this is a great opportunity to make the connection with your Members. You should also take this opportunity to make sure they are aware of the Complete Streets and CLEANTEA legislation that is currently in Congress. Please see our website for in depth information on the legislation.
Also, the National Bike Summit was a great opportunity to hear from our elected officials. The League has video of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood addressing the National Bike Summit attendees at the opening plenary, noting that the DOT will be "a full partner in working toward livable communities". Read LaHood's blog here. We also have video of Representatives Blumenauer (D-OR), Lipinski (D-IL) and Matsui (D-CA) speaking at the opening plenary session.
The League of American Bicyclists promotes bicycling for fun, fitness and transportation, and works through advocacy and education for a bicycle-friendly America. The League represents the interests of America's 57 million bicyclists, including its 300,000 members and affiliates. For more information or to support the League, visit www.bikeleague.org.