The League of American Bicyclists is hoping Bike Month will be a poltical turning point for federal funding of cycling (LAB)
National Bike Month started Tuesday in the United States, with more than
450 events planned around to country to celebrate all the benefits of riding a
bike. The League of American Bicyclists is hoping to leverage the events for
political gain in the U.S. Congress, which will be deciding soon on funding for
bicycling as part of the federal transportation bill.
“It’s definitely a celebratory month,” said LAB’s Director of
Communications Carolyn Szczepanski. “We’ve
seen growth in the number
of events, and all signs point to communities and states getting more proactive
about getting out and getting riding. Clearly there is a lot of positive energy, but the backdrop is the need to put the message in front of Congress
that cycling is more important than ever.”
In addition to many local and regional events, Bike Month this year also
includes the first-ever National Bike to School Day, May 9. Walkbiketoschool.org has a new GPS
mapping tool for finding safe routes to school.
Bike to Work Week is May 14-18.
LAB is encouraging cyclists to invite their members of Congress to attend
their local events.
Bikes are smart transport
On the political front, about 2 percent of the U.S. transportation budget
has gone to cycling and walking facilities. In recent months, some legislators
to eliminate that spending. In April, the federal transportation bill that
was set to expire was extended by 90 days. LAB says now is the time to convince
U.S. Congress to support cyclists.
“It’s time for
Congress to recognize the many benefits and rising popularity of cycling and
stop shortchanging Americans who choose to travel by bike because it’s good for
their health, saves them money and improves their community,” said Andy
Clarke, LAB President.
“Bike Month is
about smart investments in transportation options,” says Michael Brune, Executive
Director of the Sierra Club, which is also sponsoring Bike Month. “More
and more Americans are getting on their bike to get where they are going. They
are saving money, getting exercise and making what might be the most radical
act in America today — passing on the pump.”
On a related note,
the National Bike
Challenge is seeking to get 50,000 people to collectively ride 10 million
miles — and create a healthier world in the process. Cyclists can sign up
as individuals, teams or as part of their company. Trek Bicycles is currently
company competition — measured in pounds of C02 saved by riding
instead of driving — ahead of Kimberly-Clark and Texas Instruments.