National Bike Month: Meet People for Bikes

people for bikes

As you may know, May is National Bike Month. To help celebrate and get the word out, we’ve had an opportunity to interview key people from some of the America’s largest bike advocacy organizations.

This week we were fortunate enough to get a few minutes with Tim Blumenthal of PeopleForBikes and ask him a few questions about his organization. 

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1.What’s the goal of your organization? 

The goal of PeopleForBikes is to make bike riding better for all Americans and get more people biking more often.

2. What projects are you working on currently?

We group our work into two basic areas: 1) Building Better Places to Ride; and 2) Building Political Power. Both are national programs.

We run our Green Lane Project to improve bike infrastructure in cities and large towns. We focus on building protected bike lanes that are physically separated from fast-moving cars and trucks and make bicycling safer and more appealing for everyone–especially new riders, families and older Americans. We also improve bike infrastructure (lanes, paths, singletrack and bike parks) by awarding grants to support their development. We’ve invested $10 million during the last decade in projects like this, as well as the local, state and national groups that help make them happen.

We’re working to build political power to support better places to ride. We’re focused on growing the PeopleForBikes individual supporter base–bicycling’s grassroots army. We currently have 800,000 Americans on board and we’re determined to increase this number to a million or more during 2014. We are becoming a political force: as more people join PeopleForBikes (it’s free), we are developing serious clout! We need your help.

The other part of our political strategy is our grasstops engagement program. We call it the PeopleForBikes Business Network. First, we engage bike business leaders (as well as leaders of businesses outside the bike industry) to share the stories of the good jobs they support, and importance of solid bike infrastructure to their continuing success. Then, we engage other societal leaders—not only business owners, but pro athletes, celebrities, developers—to publicly support and advocate for bicycling of all kinds. Our grasstops program focuses on elected officials, but we want everyone in America to appreciate all the great things that happen when people ride bikes.

Protected bike lanes are a major initiative for PeopleForBikes

Protected bike lanes are a major initiative for PeopleForBikes

3. How can I make cycling better in my community?

The most important thing you can do to make the cycling experience better in your community is ride predictably and respectfully—both on and off road. Stop at traffic lights and at stop signs. Signal your turns. Use a light and rear reflector if you ride after dark. Alert others when you’re about to pass them. Second, pay attention to the bike-related decisions of your town, city and county governments.  If leaders step up to support a great project, send them a short note of thanks or leave a phone message. If they fall short, don’t be afraid to ask them to do better. Be specific. Get involved with your local or state advocacy group: they will guide your efforts.

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 4. How do you reach out to non-bike riders ?

We emphasize the benefits of bicycling to non-bike riders. For example, protected bike lanes in cities make traveling more predictable and safer for everyone—whether they’re driving, biking or walking. Bike paths, trails and lanes boost business—not only tourism, but often every-day sales at adjacent stores and restaurants, as people pedal by and (often) stop, as opposed to speeding through. Bike riding reduces road congestion and air pollution and improves health: everyone benefits from that.

PeopleForBikes has worked with municipalities all over the country to improve the visibility of bike riders

PeopleForBikes has worked with municipalities all over the country to improve the visibility of bike riders

At the end of the day, we believe that two things will make bicycling better for everyone: more places to ride that are safe, appealing, and close to home and work; and strong public support to create and maintain these places.

People for Bikes Guest Post: National Bike Month

Our friends at People for Bikes are always hard at work to improve the future of cycling and are big supporters of National Bike Month. They love events like Bike to Work Week (May 14-18), Bike to Work Day (May 18), and the first Bike to School Day (May 9). So we asked them to put together a few ideas that you could try to make National Bike Month a success in your community.

As many of you already know, May is National Bike Month. With longer, milder days, May is a perfect time to recognize bicycling for the multitude of benefits it provides – improving America’s health, economy, and environment. Here are four ways to make the most of this year’s National Bike Month:

1) Go for a type of bike ride that you normally wouldn’t: If you’re a road rider, try a mountain bike ride. If you’ve never ridden your bike to work, give bike commuting a shot.  If the ride to work isn’t something you can tackle, ride your bike to run an errand you would normally do by car, even if it’s just a trip to the coffee shop or ice cream parlor. Remember—forty percent of trips Americans take are two miles or less, an easy bicycling distance.

2) Sign up for the National Bike Challenge and ride with thousands of Americans from around the country.  This first of its kind challenge is being promoted by the Kimberly Clark Corporation, Bikes Belong, and the League of American Bicyclists to encourage healthier lifestyles and will run from May through August.

3) Introduce one other person to bicycling. Whether it’s your partner, a coworker, a family member, or just a friend, help someone find a bike and go for a fun ride. Bicycling is a pretty amazing thing, right? Why not encourage someone else to discover the activity that brings you so much happiness.

4) Sign the PeopleforBikes.org pledge. PeopleForBikes.org is the movement dedicated to improving the future of bicycling. Already, half a million people have signed the pledge. It is free and only takes a quick minute to sign. Joining PeopleForBikes.org is a way for bicyclists in this country to speak with one powerful, united voice to ask for more safe places to ride a bike. By signing the pledge at www.PeopleForBikes.org, Americans can raise public awareness and demonstrate a commitment to our leaders in Congress and in cities and states throughout the country that bicycling is important and should be protected.

This May and this summer should be an amazing time for bicycling in America. An increasing percentage of our national leaders recognize bicycling as a simple solution for transportation challenges, jobs and economic development, and health and obesity issues. Communities are investing in bike lanes and paths more than ever, helping bicycling to become safer and stress-free. PeopleForBikes.org encourages Americans to take advantage of these new places to ride and to not only participate in National Bike Month, but to also incorporate bicycle trips into their daily routines.

To join 500,000 other Americans in signing the PeopleForBikes.org pledge, visit http://www.peopleforbikes.org/pages/pledge.

To learn more about National Bike Month and find events in your community, check out http://www.bikeleague.org/programs/bikemonth/.

To register for the National Bike Challenge, visit http://www.nationalbikechallenge.org .

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