Entries tagged: Lobbying

BikeTexas Brings “Cyclists in Suits” to State Capitol

imageThis month, many Alliance leaders traveled to Washington, DC, to lobby their members of Congress during the National Bike Summit. But the politicos on Capitol Hill aren’t the only ones making critical decisions about biking and walking funding, policies and programs. State legislatures are in full swing and member organizations are providing a strong, vocal presence for bicyclists and pedestrians in virtually every state across the nation.

One example comes from BikeTexas. Just this past Monday, more than three dozen members of the statewide organization traveled to Austin for the biennial “Cyclists in Suits Lobby Day.” With neon bike pins shining from their lapels, they educated their elected officials on important bills and showcased the large constituency for bicycling in the Lone Star State.

“Cyclists from all over Texas split into small teams and met individually with transportation staffers in every legislative office at the Capitol — all 181 of them — to discuss key pieces of bike-friendly legislation filed this session,” Emma Cravey reports on the BikeTexas blog. “Chief among the bills shared was HB 1105 / SB 513, the Complete Streets bill. This legislation would ensure that new road construction and reconstruction projects consider all road users in their design — meaning cyclists, pedestrians, bus riders and the disabled — not just motorists… Volunteers also shared information about HB 1943, which would provide utility right-of-way for bike trails in Houston and El Paso, and HB 1583, which would require cyclists to use a red rear light at night.”

According to BikeTexas, legislators and their staff were “receptive and interested,” and advocates celebrated their success with a happy hour after a productive day creating and cultivating relationships with their elected officials.

Click here to follow the progress of key bills in Texas or read more about BikeTexas’ campaigns.

Photo: Cyclists in Suits 2011 Lobby Day (BikeTexas)

The Power of the Bike Pin

imageA couple weeks ago, my colleague at the League of American Bicyclists, Meghan Cahill, tried to convey the power of the pin. They may be plastic and, yep, they’re neon, but people go crazy for those little bike pins, she told me.

Yesterday, as I lobbied with the Missouri delegation on Capitol Hill, I saw that love affair first hand.

Everybody wanted a bike pin: receptionists, lobbyists, even random people in the elevator. We gave one to the staffer in Sen. Claire McCaskill’s office, who told us he rides to work everyday on Capital Bikeshare. We gave a handful to an assistant in Rep. Jo Ann Emerson’s office, who told us she owned a Trek and needed a couple extra for brothers who ride centuries. We dug in our bags and raided our own lapels to make sure the entire staff in Rep. Emanuel Cleaver’s office had a way to showcase their boss’ incredible and continued support.

In the halls of the Senate and House office buildings, I saw bicycles pinned to countless suit jackets — and not just those of fellow National Bike Summit attendees. Those cheap plastic pins revealed something priceless: the near-universal appeal and affection for the simple act of bicycling.

That’s not to say our members of Congress were willing to commit to supporting continued dedicated funding for biking and walking programs. Many of the staffers told us they were with us on the benefits of active transportation but, facing a crushing deficit, they couldn’t commit to protecting any program no matter how valuable. So, while I was on cloud nine seeing all those bike pins, I know we need to get grounded for some serious work in the coming weeks and months.

We know we have an impact. Last month, we all breathed a collective sigh of relief when our programs weren’t attacked in the hundreds of amendments to the 2011 House budget. That wasn’t dumb luck; that was the result of local and state advocates engaging their members of Congress in dozens of in-district meetings, highlighting the benefits of bicycling and, perhaps more importantly, showcasing the strong, influential constituency of our growing, bi-partisan movement. Alliance member organizations certainly led the way.

Late last year, America Bikes organized a national push to educate members of Congress in 182 key districts. Alliance leaders stepped up, committing to organize meetings in 86 key Congressional districts in 20 different states. So far, 25 have held meetings, 14 have scheduled meetings and 32 have meeting requests into their members’ offices. Those opportunities for education and relationship building are still more critical than ever. Though we dodged one ax in the House, we’re not out of the woodshed yet — not by a long shot.

So, as we all go back to our home districts, let’s remember the halls of Congress lit up with those neon bike pins. More importantly, when our members of Congress start making tough decision in the 2012 budget and the next transportation bill, let’s make sure they remember the critical programs and unified movement those popular pins represent.

Photo: League of American Bicyclists

Posted by Carolyn S on March 11, 2011
Tags: national bike summit, lobbying, league of american bicyclists, bike pin, america bikes
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Mutual Aid Tip Sheet: “Lobbying Do’s and Don’t for Advocacy Organizations”

imageimageAlthough I was tied up in a different meeting and wasn’t able to attend myself, I know this week’s Mutual Aid call was quite a success: I could hear the conversation going strong even as I sat in another room.

To jumpstart the important dialogue on “Lobbying: Do’s and Don’ts for Advocacy Organizations,” we invited two experienced panelists to join our second Mutual Aid call of 2011. Nayantara Mehta is a Senior Counsel at the Alliance for Justice, and Scott Bricker, a longtime bike-ped advocate, currently serves as the campaign manager for America Walks.

During the hour-long discussion with more than 20 advocates from across the country, they shared some great tips on tax law and lessons learned from firsthand experience.

Lucky for me, and others who weren’t able to make it, our communications intern, Camie Rodan, captured the key highlights from the call. Check out this helpful Tip Sheet now uploaded to our Resource Library. If you were able to attend, keep it on hand as an inspirational cheat sheet. And don’t miss our calls coming up in March.

Register now for:


Posted by Carolyn S on February 25, 2011
Tags: mutual aid, lobbying, america walks, alliance for justice
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2011 Mutual Aid Calls Start Next Week!

imageThe Alliance was founded on the principle of Mutual Aid — the notion that we’re all working toward a more bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly nation and we’ll get there a lot faster by sharing the unique knowledge we all gain along the way. That’s why our Mutual Aid Call series is so vital. It’s your chance to have a discussion with your peers on the topics and issues they know best.

For the 2011 Mutual Aid Call series, we incorporated the insight and ideas you provided in our outreach calls and 2010 Alliance Membership Survey. (The 2010 survey received four times the response of 2009 - thanks to the more than 130 people who participated!) Based on your feedback:

  • We’re hosting our calls on Wednesdays at 2 p.m. EST, to best accommodate your schedule. (But we’ll steer clear of the third Wednesday of the month, so folks can use their Alliance discount to attend webinars hosted by the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals.)
  • We’re focusing on several different tracks that tackle the most popular topics: Fundraising, Membership Development, Organization Development, Communications, Diversity and Working with Government.
  • We’re bringing in at least one expert from outside the bicycle and pedestrian advocacy community on each call to bring new, fresh ideas and best practices into the discussion.

We know many of you are gearing up for the National Bike Summit in March, so we’re kicking off 2011 with key calls that will prepare you to work with your representatives in Washington, DC, and back home in your state legislatures. Don’t miss the first two calls in our Working with Government series:

February 9: Working With Your Congressional Delegates
Now, more than ever, building and cultivating relationships with your members of Congress is critical to protecting and advancing bicycle and pedestrian issues on a federal level. Whether you’re gearing up for the National Bike Summit in March or working in your home community on this national mobilization to protect bike-ped interests and programs in the next federal transportation bill, this call will give you insight into successfully engaging your delegates in Washington, D.C. Register here.

February 23: Lobbying- Do’s and Don’ts for Advocacy Organizations
Whether you are a 501(c)3, or (c)4, there is plenty you can do to educate and inform elected leaders, from the city council to the state legislature to the U.S. Congress. At the same time, you need to avoid breaking any rules that could jeopardize your nonprofit status. Join us as experts and experienced leaders explain how you can be effective as an advocate and remain on the right side of the law. Register here.

We’re still adding all the information for our 2011 calls to the website, but click here for a full list of dates and topics in coming weeks.

1,800 Cyclists Ride to Georgia Capitol

imageNearly 1,800 cyclists participated in the 5th annual Georgia Bikes! Georgia Rides to the Capitol event on Tuesday, March 23. Police-escorted rides departed from Decatur and Roswell led respectively by Mayor Bill Floyd and Mayor Jere Wood as well as other mayors and public officials from the region. Cyclists biked to raise support for improved conditions for cycling, including the development of regional systems of both on-road bicycling facilities and multi-use-trails.

While at the capitol, cyclists talked with their representatives about Georgia HB 988 — 3 foot safe passing bill. Cyclists and other supporters - contact your legislators and ask them to support this bill. 16 states have safe passing legislation; Georgia Bikes is aiming to “get Georgia signed up as number 17!”

For more information about the event, visit http://www.georgiaridestothecapitol.org/.

Posted by krsteele04 on April 08, 2010
Tags: safe passing, lobbying, lobby day, legislation, georgia bikes, georgia, ga, capitol, 3 foot
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