League of Michigan Bicyclists Petitions Amtrak to Accommodate Bikes

By Lisa Seyfried on February 15, 2012

imageLast year, the League of Michigan Bicyclists (LMB) worked to ensure that the new Michigan State Rail Plan included bike-friendly provisions for traveling cyclists — and won. The new plan recommends that two- (or three-) wheeling travelers be allowed to bring their bikes aboard trains chugging through the Great Lakes State. But there’s one small hitch: It’s just a recommendation, not a mandate.

Now, the LMB is using the rail plan momentum to convince Amtrak to do the right thing for cyclists.

“LMB added bikes on trains as one of our advocacy priorities last year,” says John Lindenmayer, LMB’s Advocacy and Policy Director. “Cyclists, however, have been clamoring for sometime for the right to travel with their bikes on Michigan Amtrak lines. Since Amtrak has implemented roll-on bike service in other states, we decided to launch this petition drive to ensure that Amtrak hears directly from the Michigan cycling community.”

Adding fuel to the fire, Michigan was recently awarded federal funds to purchase news cars, and the LMB wants to see those new cars outfitted with bike racks, and the older cars retrofitted to accommodate bikes.

“The petition is to help ensure that on board bicycle accommodations are included in these new cars and to urge Amtrak to retrofit existing cars with on board bike racks,” Lindenmayer says. “Our state is home to a number of bicycle tours in or near Michigan communities serviced by Amtrak. These communities could benefit from increased tourism spending, particularly from vacationing Chicago residents. Allowing passengers to travel from community to community and then bicycle to their final destinations will also help enhance multi-modal transportation options across the state.”

The petition has already garnered more that 1000 signatures, and still going strong. According to Lindenmayer, that success has been driven largely by the LMB’s strong social media following. Most of those signature happened over the course of one weekend through the use of Facebook and Twitter to expand the message.

Click here to read more about the petition and to sign the petition.

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