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Bikes Belong February '09 Newsletter
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In this Issue:
  • Bikes Belong Lobbying Hard in 2009
  • America Bikes Sets a Strategy
  • Supplier Scholarships Available for the National Bike Summit
  • New Resource Documents Available
  • REI Renews Funding for Bicycle Friendly Community Grants
  • Bikes Belong Awards Four Paul David Clark Grants
  • Bikes Belong Picks New Officers
  • Quick Releases
  • Facts & Stats


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    Bikes Belong Lobbying Hard in 2009

    This is a crucial year for working with federal policy makers. Our nation has a new President, a new Congress, and a new commitment to improving our transportation and energy infrastructure. Bikes Belong is working closely with key members of Congress, our D.C.-based lobbying firm, and our partner organizations to promote bicycle-friendly legislation.

    Currently we're focusing on the following bills:

    2009 Federal Transportation Bill – The federal transportation law, which is renewed every five or six years, is the primary source of funding for U.S. bicycle facilities and programs. Since the next authorization is scheduled for this year, we're working to maximize funding for bicycling in this bill.

    Economic Stimulus Package – President Obama has called the transportation portion of this multi-billion dollar bill "the largest new investment in our national infrastructure since the creation of the federal highway system." America Bikes submitted a nationwide list of $3.7 billion in "shovel-ready" bike projects to demonstrate that worthy bike projects are ready to go. Bikes Belong is working closely with members of Congress to ensure that bike funding is included in the bill.

    Climate Change Bill – One of the new Congress's top priorities is a Climate Change Bill that would require companies that produce excessive pollution to pay the federal government. In turn, the government would invest this money in pollution-reducing projects, such as bicycle facilities. As this legislation takes shape, Bikes Belong will work to direct a portion of any pollution payments to projects that benefit bicycling—an emission-free transportation solution.

    Learn more about Bikes Belong's lobbying efforts.

    America Bikes Sets a Strategy

    In addition to our own lobbying efforts, Bikes Belong is the funder of America Bikes, the coalition of eight national groups working together to create a national strategy to increase federal support for bicycling. We've pledged $225,000 to America Bikes in 2009 to further a bicycling agenda, which includes:

    • increasing funding for cost-effective bicycle facility projects,
    • expanding the federal Safe Routes to School program,
    • adopting a national Complete Streets policy,
    • securing funding to complete bicycling networks in every metropolitan area in the country,
    • access to a fair share of safety funding, and
    • working with the U.S. Department of Transportation to ensure that bicycling and walking are treated more equitably as modes of transportation.

    Learn more about America Bikes.

    Supplier Scholarships Available for the National Bike Summit

    Register now for the National Bike Summit, March 10-12 in Washington, D.C. The summit—an annual event organized by the League of American Bicyclists—includes a powerful lobbying effort on Capitol Hill. Bicycle suppliers and retailers are needed to represent our industry.

    Since three important bike-related bills are being considered by Congress this year, this is a crucial time to exert the bike industry's influence to maximize federal funding for bike facilities and programs. Help us make the case for bicycling as a cost-effective, mainstream solution to our obesity epidemic, traffic woes, air pollution, dependence on foreign oil, and lagging economy.

    For the third year in a row, Bikes Belong is offering a limited number of $1,000 scholarships to suppliers who are members of Bikes Belong. For more information, e-mail scholarships@bikesbelong.org.

    Register today.

    New Resource Documents Available

    Bikes Belong helped fund two recently released documents that will educate and inspire elected officials to support bicycling, leading to more and better bicycle facilities and programs.

    The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) published a report, Encouraging Bicycling and Walking: The State Legislative Role, to outline best practices in state approaches to promoting biking and walking. Bikes Belong and the League of American Bicyclists partnered to sponsor this project, which complements our investment in the Bicycle Friendly State program. Download the report.

    Bikes Belong teamed with the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy on a research project to quantify the positive results of federal bike spending on communities and health. Entitled Active Transportation for America, the report will be crucial as we work to prioritize bicycling in the federal transportation bill in 2009. View the report.

    REI Renews Funding for Bicycle Friendly Community Grants

    For the second year, REI has pledged $100,000 for the REI/Bicycle Friendly Communities Grant Program. This program—administered by the Bikes Belong Foundation in partnership with the League of American Bicyclists—supports designated and aspiring Bicycle Friendly Communities that are demonstrating success, employing creative strategies, and showing marked advancements in becoming more bicycle-friendly.

    One of the goals of the REI/BFC Grant Program is to build on the significant momentum generated by the BFC application process. The 2009 REI/BFC Grant recipients will also receive technical assistance from the League to help them prioritize and reach their bike-friendly goals.

    Learn more about the REI/BFC Program.

    Bikes Belong Awards Four Paul David Clark Grants

    Bikes Belong Foundation selected four organizations to receive Paul David Clark Best Practices Grants. This funding is supporting innovative, replicable work in bike advocacy and programs for young riders.

    Community Cycling Center—Portland, Oregon
    Community Cycling Center is a stellar model for bike-advocacy groups that are working to create and enhance community bike programs across the country. The center's initiatives—including an earn-a-bike program, bike safety classes, and a volunteer bike-recycling program—make bicycling accessible to Portlanders of all abilities, ages, and incomes.

    Freiker—Boulder, Colorado/International
    Established in Boulder, Colorado, in 2004, Freiker is an innovative program to encourage elementary school children to ride their bikes to school. The program has helped inspire children (and their parents!) to log nearly 100,000 foot and bicycle trips to school.

    NorCal High School Mountain Bike League—California/National
    NorCal High School Mountain Bike League has been developing youth mountain-bike teams at public high schools in northern California since 2001. NorCal's innovative programs are now being replicated across the country.

    Transportation Alternatives—New York, New York
    Transportation Alternatives (TA) is one of the most influential U.S. bike-advocacy groups. Bolstered by 7,000 members and 20,000 activists, TA has won miles of new bicycle lanes, gained more car-free hours in Central and Prospect parks, and improved bicycling for millions of New Yorkers.

    Learn more.

    Bikes Belong Picks New Officers

    Three U.S. bike industry leaders were elected as Bikes Belong Coalition board officers at the organization's November meeting in Boulder, Colorado. Steve Meineke, president of Raleigh America, was chosen to become board president after serving three years as vice president. Former treasurer Chris Fortune, CEO of Saris Cycling Group, was named vice president. Michael Mercuri, VP of SRAM Corporation, was elected treasurer. All three began service immediately and will guide Bikes Belong's board until the end of 2010.

    See a complete list of Bikes Belong's board of directors.

    Quick Releases

    SRAM awarded $200,000 to Bikes Belong to develop an unprecedented broad-based political network of Americans who ride bikes and support government investment in bicycle facilities. Bikes Belong is working with the top ad agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky and web experts Blue State Digital on this project. Read about SRAM's donation.

    Bikes Belong is now on Twitter and Facebook.

    Bikes Belong's Winter 2009 grant recipients will be announced next week. Learn about our grants program.

    The federal Bicycle Commuters Benefits Act became effective January 1, allowing employers to reimburse their bike-commuting employees tax-free up to $20 per month. Learn how to implement this at your business.

    Bikes Belong's website statistics section now includes a page on safety.

    Facts & Stats

    People who have flexible work schedules are more likely to bike commute than those who don't.
    –Sener et al., 2008, An analysis of bicyclists and bicycling characteristics: Who, why, and how much are they bicycling?

    If the number of kids who walk and bike to school was restored to 1969 levels, our nation would cut 3.2 billion vehicle miles, 1.5 million tons of CO2, and 89,000 tons of other pollutants annually. This is the equivalent of keeping more than 250,000 cars off the road for a year.
    –Pedroso, M., 2008, Safe Routes to School: Steps to a Greener Future

       

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    Bikes Belong Coalition | P.O. Box 2359 | Boulder | CO | 80306 | 303/449-4893