For now the 12th year in a row, we attended the National Bike Summit in DC and coordinated the SC delegation on Lobby day. The mood in DC was very different this year. The League of American Bicyclists (LAB) has a new Executive Director, and Congress recently passed the FAST Act. New LAB Director Alex Doty expressed commitment to diversifying the movement. And the new 5 year transportation bill is the most long term bill in decades. And this year Equity – the 6th of 5 E’s of becoming bike friendly – took center stage in the ever-evolving bike movement.
The opening Plenary made special mention that the movement’s strengths lie at the local and federal levels, with states being the bottlenecks of change. We feel that here, and concur that state DOTs are the last vestiges of antiquated road engineering, planning, and design. Lucky for us, that’s our focus (hint: become a member today!), and we’re committed to working with SCDOT to advance the safety of vulnerable road users.
Here are a few key points taken from sessions attended by our crew.
- Mobility is a Civil Right, and many examples are popping up around the country where race is central to discussions of urban planning, bicycle and pedestrian safety, and bike education;
- Safety is key and Vision Zero programs are expanding rapidly around the country;
- The Bike Friendly American program is not slowing down any time soon;
- The LAB is taking a renewed interest in Education again, and they are aiming to certify educational programs now – not just individuals, as has occurred in the past; and
- Law enforcement partnerships continue to be key throughout the movement, and in helping us work through our biggest challenges.
Our final day was spent lobbying each of our Legislative US Representatives and Senators, and we felt the notion we commonly hear: “If you aren’t at the table, you’re on he menu.” We lobbied for the PHIT Act, meant to expand choices in utilizing Health Savings Accounts, so that beyond using it for all things sickness-related, it can also be used in health promotion measures like buying that bike or gym membership. Look for news on this bill’s progress, coming soon… Thanks to the SC delegation for attending: Katie Zimmerman and Paul LeFrancois, PCC board members, Amy Johnson Ely, PCC Executive Director, and Savannah Brennan of Charleston Moves.