online media center to access our logo,
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use these materials.
Bicycle Commuter Act Becomes Law
After seven years of legislative proposals,
the bicycle commuter tax benefit has finally
become law. The bill passed both the U.S.
House and Senate in early October, and
President Bush added his signature on October
3. This legislation allows employers to give
employees who commute by bike a
monthly tax-free stipend of $20 or less. This
benefit is modeled after the federal vanpool
and transit commuter tax benefit.
We are grateful to Congressman Earl
Blumenauer (OR) and other members of Congress
who have worked tirelessly to advance this
legislation, as well as all the devoted
bicycle advocates who helped promote it.
Employers may begin reimbursing employees
tax-free on January 1, 2009. Stay tuned for
Conventions Bike-Sharing Effort Exceeds Expectations
When Bikes Belong teamed with Humana to bring
1,000 bikes to the Democratic and Republican
national conventions, we had two goals:
- To show convention delegates,
media, volunteers, and residents the
convenience of bicycling for short trips.
- To highlight bicycling on a national
stage and generate positive media coverage to
inspire more people to ride.
On both fronts, the Freewheelin bike sharing
effort was tremendously successful. During
eight days of Freewheelin at the two
conventions, people from all 50 states and 37
- Took 7,523 rides
- Pedaled 41,724 miles
- Burned 1,293,429 calories
- Reduced their carbon footprint by 14.6
- Reported no accidents or injuries
Freewheelin was a mainstream media event,
with stories appearing on CNN, ABC World
News Tonight, and the CBS Evening
News, in major newspapers such as The
New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los
Angeles Times, Washington Post, and
New York Daily News, as well as in
Time and Newsweek. So far we've
- 2,304 clips in print, on television and
radio, and online
- Nearly 180 million media impressions
- An equivalent of $10 million in
These widespread and positive stories helped
promote bicycling as easy, convenient,
healthy, safe, and fun to a larger and wider
audience than we've reached before.
To see some of the coverage, visit our
We thank Humana and all of the Bikes Belong
member companies who generously supported
this unprecedented project.
Bicycle Friendly State and Business Rankings Announced
The League of American Bicyclists has
officially rolled out the Bicycle Friendly
State and Business programs. These are
extensions of the Bicycle Friendly Community
program, and they are supported by Bikes Belong
and Trek's One World Two Wheels program.
Washington, Wisconsin, Arizona, Oregon, and
Minnesota topped the initial state rankings.
The League evaluated each state using more
than 70 criteria. The program will judge all
50 states annually to identify how states can
improve conditions for bicycling and motivate
them to succeed. Check all the listings at
In the first round of the Bicycle Friendly
Business program, 13 companies achieved
rankings. Alta Planning + Design (Portland,
Oregon), Clif Bar & Company (Berkeley,
California), Landry's Bicycles (Boston,
Massachusetts), and Quality
Bicycle Products (Bloomington, Minnesota)
earned gold, the highest level awarded in
this round. This program helps companies
promote bicycling and
cultivate a bike culture. See all the awards
Like the Bicycle Friendly Community program,
the Bicycle Friendly State and Bicycle
Friendly Business programs provide
recognition at four levels: platinum, gold,
silver, and bronze. Already these programs
are inspiring states and companies to compete
and improve conditions for bicycling.
Rails-to-Trails Document to Quantify the Federal Investment in Bicycling
With major funding support from Bikes Belong, the
Rails-to-Trails Conservancy has produced a
new report, Active Transportation for
America: The Case for Increased Federal
Investment in Bicycling and Walking, to
be released October 20. The report quantifies
the benefits—relating to
dependence, climate change, and public
health—of bicycling and walking for short
trips in the U.S. It also outlines future
scenarios and potential savings in all these
areas if bicycling and walking increase. This
report will be an important tool as we work
to boost federal funding for bicycling and
walking in the transportation bill and
beyond. Look for the full report on our
website later this month.
America Bikes Preps for New Campaign
America Bikes, the coalition of eight U.S.
national bicycling organizations, has hired a
new campaign director as it prepares for the
2009 reauthorization of federal
transportation funding (which includes major
support for bicycling facilities and
programs). Bikes Belong has been America
Bike's primary funder since its inception.
Caron Whitaker of Washington, D.C., began
work at the America Bikes office in early
September. Whitaker previously served as the
Director of Community Engagement for the
National Wildlife Federation, and she has
extensive experience in smart-growth
development and planning.
The America Bikes board of directors and
Whitaker met October 6 in Chicago to refine
its strategy to maximize bicycling and
pedestrian funding in the next multi-year
federal transportation bill, which is slated
for review and approval by next September.
America Bikes helped engineer a significant
increase in bike funding in the last bill,
SAFETEA-LU, which became law in 2005.
America Bikes member organizations include
Adventure Cycling Association, Association of
Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals, Bikes
Belong Coalition, International Mountain
Bicycling Association, League of American
Bicyclists, National Center for Bicycling and
Walking, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, and the
For more information, e-mail Whitaker: firstname.lastname@example.org.
BikesPAC Fundraiser Supports Our Work in Washington, D.C.
During Interbike in September, more than 100
Bikes Belong members attended a fundraiser
for BikesPAC, the bicycle industry's
political action committee (which Bikes
Belong administers). The event featured a
speech by special guest, Les McPhearson of
Humana, Bikes Belong's partner on the
Freewheelin bike-sharing initiative.
McPhearson thanked the bike industry for the
partnership and pledged continued support for
bicycling. Bikes Belong's executive director,
Tim Blumenthal, also spoke, describing
successes of the past year and emphasizing
the importance of focusing on the next
federal transportation bill.
BikesPAC is an essential part of Bikes
Belong's strategy to increase federal support
and funding for bicycle facilities and
programs. Look for an upcoming expansion of our
PAC, which will allow us to seek
contributions from a broader constituency
and, therefore, increase our donations to the
campaigns of members of Congress—both
Republican and Democratic—who support
more about BikesPAC.
Bicycling Stats Available on Bikes Belong Website
Do you ever wish you could put your finger on
the perfect statistic to make a case for
bicycling? Do you need help quantifying the
health, economic, or environmental benefits
of bicycling? Bikes Belong recently launched
a statistics section of our website to help
you. It includes separate pages for
participation, economic, health, facilities,
and environmental statistics. We add to the
compilation every week, so check back
whenever you're in need of a precise fact to
make your point.
Deb Hubsmith, our Safe Routes to School
National Partnership director, accepted the
Pioneering Woman Award from the Outdoor
Industry Women's Coalition at Interbike. Learn
Also at Interbike, Bikes Belong's Tim
Blumenthal and Gary Sjoquist spoke to a group
of nearly 70 retailers about the future of
bicycling and how the industry can take
advantage of opportunities. See
Bikes Belong is funding the Thunderhead
Alliance's 50 States/50 Cities project, an
effort to establish strong advocacy groups
about the project.
SRAM is establishing an ambitious, five-year
worldwide advocacy fund. Learn
Bikes Belong awarded its 170th grant this
the latest grant awards.
Facts & Stats
Here's a sampling of some of the stats we've
recently posted on our website:
Less than 1% of all
U.S. trips are made by bicycle, yet nearly
40% of all trips are two miles or less.
The average annual
operating cost of a bicycle is around $200,
1/70th that of an average car.
Men who cycle to work are
significantly less likely to be overweight
and obese (39.8%) than those who drive to
From 1992-2005 Portland, Oregon, increased
its bikeway network by 215%, and during that
period bicycle commuting doubled.
of driving 5 miles a day reduces individual
CO2 emissions by 1,287 pounds annually, about
6% of the average American's total