|The League’s 2003 National Bike Summit®, March 5-7 in Washington, DC, was a resounding success, showcasing the strength of the bicycling community and its ability to unite for positive change on the reauthorization of TEA-21 and other critical education and advocacy issues. As Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) said, "I don't think a national movement with more trajectory and momentum with a more diverse group has ever come together this quickly." |
Participants met with 90 Senators and over 300 Representatives or their staffs to urge Congress to ensure that the reauthorization of the federal transportation bill focuses on supporting a balanced transportation system that embraces bicycling. The Summit brought together nearly 400 bicyclists from 47 states and abroad, representing the worlds of advocacy, industry, transportation and public health to share important concerns and best practices and educate Congress. Overall participation in the 2003 Summit grew by 45% from the 2002 Summit; bike industry participation more than doubled.
Elissa Margolin, Executive Director of the League of American Bicyclists, in thanking the 2003 National Bike Summit® participants, said, "The bicycling movement is now organized, connected, informed and empowered. We came together and made a big difference for the future of bicycling."
Among the Summit participants was three-time Tour de France champion Greg LeMond, who also took part in the Congressional Bike Caucus Ride that toured major sites on March 7, and Linda Armstrong Kelly, mother of four-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong. Mrs. Armstrong Kelly was also among the featured speakers, who included Senator Jim Jeffords (I-VT), Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Congressman James Oberstar (D-MN), Dr. Jeffrey W. Runge, Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and John Burke, President of Trek Bicycle Corporation, President of Bikes Belong Coalition, and a member of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.
Summit participants urged their Members of Congress to ensure that the reauthorization of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), which authorizes over $200 billion in support for transportation, including bicycling projects, provides for a balanced transportation system that embraces bicycling by:
Strengthening Transportation Enhancements, Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality, Recreational Trails, and other TEA-21 programs
Creating a bicycle-friendly transportation system
Providing a Safe Routes to School program to promote bicycling and walking to school
In addition, Members were also encouraged to:
Support the Bicycle Commuter Act, introduced by Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Mark Foley (R-FL), to give people who bike to work the same financial incentives as those who use transit or participate in a qualified parking plan under the Transportation Fringe Benefit
Support the Conserve By Bike Act, introduced by Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Susan Collins (R-ME), to promote energy conservation and improve public health
Join the Congressional Bike Caucus or the Senate Bike Caucus
The League is still tallying the Congressional successes, but some key achievements of the 2003 Summit include:
The America Bikes message was hand-delivered to almost every single member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and all but one Senator on the Environment and Public Works Committee. These Committees have most of the jurisdiction for the reauthorization of TEA-21.
Greg LeMond and Linda Armstrong Kelly helped carry bicycling’s message to key meetings, raising the profile of bicycling on the Hill.
Five new cosponsors were added to H.R. 1052, the Bike Commuter Act.
Fourteen new members "officially" joined the House Bike Caucus as a direct result of Summit meetings. Numerous others indicated that they would also join.
Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced S. 542, the Conserve by Bike Act. Members in the Senate and the House expressed considerable interest in this measure. Co-sponsorship in the Senate is expected to grow rapidly over the next few days and weeks. The League is working for companion legislation to be introduced in the House.
A tremendous amount of interest was generated for the Senate Bike Caucus. Senator Durbin’s staff is following up with more than a dozen Senators who expressed an interest.
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 League honored Senator Durbin by presenting him with its National Bicycle Leadership Award, in recognition of his leadership and support for bicycling.
The North Georgia Bicycle Dealers Association received the League’s State Bicycle Leadership Award. All but two of the organization’s members participated in the Summit, and as a result, Georgia brought one of the largest delegations to the event.
Summit attendees presented and attended a wide range of educational panels on important elements for bicycling, including: America Bikes’ policy goals for TEA-3, the role of the bicycle industry in TEA-3, several different sessions on bicycle friendly communities (www.bicyclefriendlycommunity.org), and the public health benefits of bicycling, bicycle networks, using statistics, the agenda for national mountain bike access, educating professionals (planners, engineers, and teachers), issue and advocacy training, working with state agencies, state and local advocacy success stories, safety and education initiatives, livable communities, implementing routine accommodation, state and local trail and path initiatives, and innovative state and local programs.
The League’s Summit Sponsors were Federal Highway Administration, National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, and Bikes Belong Coalition. The League’s Summit Partners included: Adventure Cycling Association, Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals, America Bikes, 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. National Bicycle Dealers Association and Bicycling Magazine were Programming Sponsors.
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.www.bikeleague.org