The League of American Bicyclist’s, Policy Director Shares Bike Advocacy Efforts - GVF
As we navigate this new world, GVF is always looking to provide its partners with the latest mobility programs and resources. If you would like to discuss your organizations future transportation options, contact us today.
May is National Bike Month and GVF continues to celebrate virtually. Ken McLeod, Policy Director for the League of American Bicyclists joined us for our third Bike Month webinar to share an update on the League’s advocacy efforts during COVID-19.
The League of American Bicyclists is a national nonprofit dedicated to representing bicyclists in the movement to create safer roads, stronger communities, and a Bicycle Friendly America. Through education, advocacy, and promotion, the League works to celebrate and preserve the freedom cycling brings everywhere.
The League’s Bicycle Friendly America program provides a roadmap, hands-on assistance and recognition for states, communities, universities, and businesses. The program is a tool for states, communities, business, and universities to make bicycling a real transportation and recreation option for all people. Pennsylvania is currently ranked #11 on the list of Bicycle Friendly States. GVF was recently recognized as a silver level Bicycle Friendly Business. For more information on the program click here.
Ken shared the five principles he feels we can do to make biking significantly safer in the U.S: Creating connected, safe, all-ages bicycling networks The goal of this initiative is to increase the public’s access to mobility options and community resources by increasing funding for biking, require safety funding to be spent on biking and walking safety, and have complete streets at all levels. Three bills the League is currently supporting to achieve this goal are:
Completing bicycling mega projects in the next 10 years To connect America with high-quality interstate bicycle networks that will also significantly expand biking in suburbs. These types of projects are well planned and ready for investment. To move this initiative forward there needs to be dedicated funding with Congressional mandate for cross-agency collaboration.
Improving Commuter Benefits to promote active transportation and access to jobs for low-income and unemployed people
The League believes in creating better commuter benefit policies to promote active transportation policies and improve benefits for people with lower incomes. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act suspended the Bicycle Commuter Benefit and changed other benefits, which still primarily benefit people with higher incomes who drive. The League wants to work with TDM groups, cities, and others to find solutions, advocate for bike incentives.
Rob Henry, Executive Director, GVF and Chair of the Public Policy Committee for ACT stated the MORE ACT would integrate TDM planning into federal policy, which it is not today. It would provide a clearly defined definition of the term TDM, that would help to implement TDM programs around the county.
• HR 1507 –Bicycle Commuter Act of 2019 • E-bike and bike purchase incentives
Making sure the U.S leads on vehicle and road safety standards
The U.S. needs to reclaim its leadership on road and vehicle safety. The U.S. created the New Car Assessment program (NHTSA) but it is broken and a decade behind peers. U.S. lags in Vision Zero progress and per capita traffic deaths.
Making sure that everyone has a bicycling education before 8th grade
The goal is to ensure every person in the US can safely ride a bike and make informed transportation choice decisions. With rise of Transportation Network Companies and future of Automated Vehicles, people need to be educated for all modes and as transportation consumers. The League will work with network of League Cycling Instructors, schools, driver education groups, and others to find solutions, advocate for bike education
Ken said if no steps toward better commuter incentives or better networks are taken now, there will be a massive increase in driving, pollution, and potentially deaths. He also stated that due to COVID-19, we will likely see more large federal investments now than at other times, which makes working on these initiatives appropriate at this time.
Ken commented on how he is seeing cities and states step up and think creatively about the ways they can provide more biking and walking facilities during COVID-19. Some communities have set up pop up safe streets that are streets closed to vehicle traffic, allowing people to bike and walk safely, which is encouraging to see.
Ken commented on the League’s future approach for advocacy. It will be in three stages:
The FACT ACT, which is the Federal Transportation Authorization ACT past in 2015, is set to expire fall of 2020. Re-authorization is the biggest federal transportation change that could happen this year. There will be a big effort to ensure if a re-authorization does happen, that it is a positive thing for biking.
“I think the most important thing that we can do right now as bike advocates and anyone in the transportation field is to make sure we are meeting the needs of people. Making sure that essential and non-essential workers have a safe and affordable way to get to around...” Ken McLeod, Policy Director, The League of American Bicyclists.
GVF looks forward to continuing to work with The League of American Bicyclists, advocating together for safer, re-imagined roadways and transportation networks.