Every year in March we attend the National Bike Summit, an annual gathering in Washington, DC facilitated by the League of American Bicyclists to advance our collective efforts to build a more Bike Friendly America.
We learn from practitioners from around the country about best practices in advocacy, bicycling safety education, technology to assist in measurement, and ways to grow cycling in our communities. We also spend one entire day walking the halls of Congress, speaking with our Senators, Congress people and their staff about the importance of allocating federal funds to help build safer roads for all modes of travel, including lanes designated for bikes.
This year was different
We didn’t need to plead with Congress to pass a transportation bill! They accomplished that formidable task in December when they passed the FAST Act, a 5-year bill that provides a slight increase in funding for bicycling and most importantly provides certainty of funding for state and local transportation planners so they can create plans for better bicycling infrastructure. It’s been over a decade since we had a long term transportation bill! And when we don’t have a long term bill, investment in bike infrastructure declines. So we are relieved and excited that we have a transportation bill. Now states, metropolitan planning organizations, city planners and bike/pedestrian advocates can work together on long term plans to build better cycling infrastructure.
The other change this year is the arrival of a new Executive Director for the League of American Bicyclists. Alex Doty, an experienced bike advocate from Philadelphia with a track record of success at the local, regional and state level, conducted lots of listening and input sessions at the Bike Summit this year. Indications are that he is going to evolve LAB into a responsive organization focused on making America more bike-friendly with better support and resources for planners and advocates at the state, regional and local level. We are excited to see what Alex and his team will accomplish over the next few years.
Bicycle Friendly Businesses
It was also exciting to tour National Public Radio (Gold Bike Friendly Business) and the World Bank (Silver Bike Friendly Business). These businesses are actively encouraging their associates to commute to work by bike. They provide a range of support from dedicated bike parking facilities, showers, locker rooms, and repair tools, to discounts on Capital Bikeshare membership, access to dry cleaner/laundry facilities and support for associate involvement in local cycling infrastructure and education advocacy. As we strive to increase our bike friendly culture at Performance Bicycle, and hopefully move from Gold to Platinum in the future, it was inspirational to see the NPR and The World Bank programs.