Bicyclists from across the country swarmed Washington D.C. last week to attend the 2015 National Bike Summit. At the event, dedicated bicycle advocates discussed the current state of affairs and the future of bicycling in the U.S.
Also, this year’s summit marked the launch of a strategic partnership between Bike Law and the summit’s host, The League of American Bicyclists.
A like-minded understanding of “the reality of riding” and a deep concern for bicycling and bicyclists serves as the foundation for the partnership, said League President Andy Clark in a statement released early last week.
To that the Bike Law Blog says: Like-minded thinking can achieve great things in the bike world. Here’s to a beautiful partnership.
The theme of this year’s summit was “Bikes Add Value,” and among those in attendance at the summit were 10 attorneys from across the country that are members of the Bike Law Network.
These attorneys participated in presentations and discussions focused on the health and transportation benefits of bicycles in communities throughout the U.S. In addition, attendees studied lobbying techniques at the state and federal levels of governance, and analyzed the growing popularity of bicycling among women in the U.S.
Attendees even got the chance to put their lobbying skills to the test when they biked to Capitol Hill to bend the ears of various political staffers, a lot of whom were completely oblivious to the lack of rights possessed by bicyclists in their home states.
For instance, staffers for a few U.S. congressional representatives from New York were unaware of The Empire State’s dreadful record as one of the most dangerous places for bikers in the country, according to Daniel Flanzig, a summit attendee and a member of the Bike Law Network.
Daniel had the opportunity to speak with staffers for Congressman Lee Zeldin from Suffolk County, New York, and staffers for U.S. Senators Kristen Gillibrand and Charles Schumer of New York about a state government initiative, dubbed Vision Zero that is aimed at reducing New York’s annual traffic fatalities from 250 a year to zilch.
“It amazed me that not one of these staffers was aware that in 2014 Bicycle Magazine listed Suffolk County as the most dangerous place to cycle in the U.S.” Flanzig told the Bike Law Blog.
“ They were also unaware that New York ranked the worst for bicycle and pedestrian safety with the highest number of fatalities than any other state in the U.S. A face to face with the staffers gave us an opportunity to share this data with these offices and let them learn of the safety crisis New York cyclists are currently facing.”
Conversely, the politicians who actually delivered speeches at the summit, like Mayor Mick Cornett of Oklahoma City, imbued attendees with confidence in the future of bike proliferation and safety. While in office, Mayor Cornett has overseen expansive additions to Oklahoma City’s bike lanes and pedestrian walking areas, and as a result, Oklahoma has fallen from being one of the most over-weight cities in the U.S. to one of the fittest, according to a poll conducted by Men’s Fitness Magazine.
Mayor Cornett accredits the increase in bike popularity among Okies for the average decrease in the waistlines of Oklahoma City residents, and for that reason alone, there is no doubt that bikes have value in the U.S.