Yesterday, Alex Obriecht, Bike Maryland President and I were accompanied by at least a dozen of Maryland's advocates, leaders, citizens, bike shop owners and planners to deliver our "bike-partisan" message directly to our new and current members of Congress. We made sure that Maryland's Congressional leaders know the direct value of bike enhancements, safe routes to school, recreational trails and other Federally-funded projects. As Andy Clarke, President of the League of American Bicyclists states, "Bicycling offers an excellent return on Federal investment, in terms of jobs, economic growth, and a healthier America.”
Meetings took place with the following staff/leaders: Senator Barbara Mikulski, Senator Benjamin Cardin, Representative Andy Harris, Representative C.A. "Dutch" Ruppersberger, Representative John Sarbanes, Representative Donna Edwards, Representative Steny Hoyer, Representative Roscoe Bartlett, Representative Elijah Cummings and Representative Chris Van Hollen. Please contact your Congressional leader, thank them for meeting with us and urge them to support a more bike-able Maryland. Unfortunately, there was not the opportunity to meet with Representative Andy Harris (1st District) so if you live in the 1st District it is especially important that you urge him to support funding for bicycling. Click here to contact your representative.
For example, Representative John Sarbanes learned that his district is home to 51 stores that sell bikes and that those stores grossed more than $20 million in 2009. Most of these bikes are sold by small-business owners, and those sales create jobs and better our economy. Also emphasized, was the fact that alternative transportation alternatives such as bike paths and bike lanes are a whole lot less expensive than new highways.
LAB writes, “There are more people riding bikes than ever. Yet half of all U.S. trips are three miles or less, and more than 90 percent are made by car. The National Bike Summit has improved bicycle-friendliness and livability in many communities, but the need and opportunity to improve physical activity, safety and livability in the U.S., while reducing congestion, greenhouse gas emissions and our dependence on oil – remains greater today than a decade ago. These issues seem difficult to solve but the answer is simple. The answer is the bicycle". Please support Bike Maryland and your right to bike by spreading this important message to your Congressional leaders!
Written by: Carol Silldorff, Bike Maryland Executive Director