|Over 275 people–including bicycle advocates, transportation, public health and environmental professionals and leaders from the bicycle industry--came together to exchange ideas, explore common goals, and make new alliances to encourage and promote bicycling at the League’s National Bike Summit® in Washington, DC, March 6-8. Overall participation in the 2002 Summit grew by 53% from the inaugural Summit in 2001; bike industry participation more than doubled. |
Trek President and Bikes Belong Coalition President John Burke, Executive Director of the Texas Bicycle Coalition Gayle Cummins, Executive Director of the National Center for Bicycling and Walking Bill Wilkinson, and Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) kicked off the Summit with an energetic and enthusiastic vision of “America Bikes." The vision is drawn from the mission of a new, national coalition of leading bicycling organizations, including the League, working for positive outcomes for bicycling through the reauthorization of TEA-21.
Burke, pretending to be addressing the 2030 Summit, walked haltingly with a cane and sported gray hair and reading glasses. He offered a gleaming vision in the year 2030 of bicycling as an integral part of American culture, resulting from a partnership between industry and advocacy over the next 28 years that results in landmark legislation and steady investment in the promotion of bicycling. His humorous presentation included a photo of a greatly aged Lance Armstrong after his 32nd consecutive Tour de France victory and a bicycle on the cover of Time Magazine’s 2030 “Person of the Year" issue.
"The energy from the Summit participants was palpable," said Elissa Margolin, Executive Director of the League of American Bicyclists. "You could actually see the vision John Burke has been talking about start to take life. We made some real tangible progress within the bicycling movement and on Capitol Hill in just a couple of days."
Attendees worked Capitol Hill on March 7, engaging over 225 congressional offices including two thirds of the Senate and over 160 House offices in a pro-cycling agenda. About a dozen Members of Congress and 75 congressional staffers joined with Summit participants at the Summit’s congressional reception that evening to cheer on cycling’s future.
Some key achievements and successes of the 2002 Summit include:
Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) agreed to co-chair the new Senate Bike Caucus during a meeting with the Texas delegation. Summit participants secured another 15 commitments to join the Senate Bike Caucus. The Congressional Bikes Caucus already has 107 Members in the House of Representatives.
Summit participants encouraged interest in the US Senate in The Bicycle Commuter Act, introduced during the 2001 Summit by Congressman Blumenauer and Congressman Mark Foley (R-FL). The measure, H.R. 1265, would let employers give employees a $65 per month tax benefit for commuting by bike to work. Please visit www.bikeleague.org for more details on the bill. Several new cosponsors were also added to the House bill, which now has a total of 44 cosponsors.
Equipped with statistics on spending rates, participants encouraged congressional offices to write letters to Governors to generate spending of Transportation Enhancement monies, which has been lagging badly in most states. $5.2 billion has been made available for TE funding through the end of fiscal 2001, but only $3.61 billion has been obligated. Over $1.5 billion remains to be obligated.
Summit presence generated over 100 commitments from Congressmen and Senators to attend cycling events in their respective districts/states. Contact your local advocacy group to take part in one of these events.
Summit attendees generated overwhelming support in Congress for Safe Routes to Schools programs, designed to make bicycling and walking to school a safe and valued activity for children.
The Federal Highway Administration held a TEA-21 Listening Session which enabled participants to express their opinions through voting on a wide range of transportation issues. New technology permitted each participant to vote on an issue, then see the resulting totals on a screen within moments.
FHWA Administrator Peters in her keynote address said, “Bicyclists are an integral part of our nation’s transportation system and we all need to work together to develop a better, more balanced transportation system that provides facilities and programs for bicyclists on a routine basis. In planning, designing, and operating our nation’s transportation system and its related programs, the needs of all users—and that clearly includes bicyclists—should be considered from the moment planning starts on a new project."
Summit attendees presented and attended a wide range of panels on important elements for bicycling within TEA-21 and participated in a valuable Listening Session with the FHWA on Wednesday and Thursday. The panels included: Safe Routes to School for the Nation, The Off-Road Agenda, States’ Perspectives on TEA-21: What’s Working and What’s Not, Bicycling Needs for the 21st Century: Marketing and Political Effectiveness, Bike Safety and Education, Bicycling to Better Health, Advocacy Success on the State Level, Bicycling in Our Nation’s Parks, and Livable Communities.
The League’s partners for the Summit included: Adventure Cycling Association, Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals, Bikes Belong Coalition, International Mountain Bicycling Association, National Center for Bicycling and Walking, Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center, Rails to Trails Conservancy, Surface Transportation Policy Project, and Thunderhead Alliance.
A great deal of follow-up work continues on legislative initiatives and policy topics introduced at the National Bike Summit ®. To keep abreast of our ongoing work, subscribe to the League’s e-newsletter at www.bikeleague.org.
Follow up work continues on legislative initiatives and policy topics introduced at the National Bike Summit ®. To keep abreast of our ongoing work, subscribe to the League's e-newsletter at www.bikeleague.org.www.bikeleague.org