You can make a difference in cycling by participation in your local governmental public
input process, or by serving on boards and commissions.
To do so you will need to know that the issues are, and what the public perception of
cycling is, arguments that you are likely to encounter, and the methods to defeat them or
advance them as the case may be.
The good news, is that these public input meetings are now required virtually
everywhere in the US, and most places in Canada. Public officials generally pay
But don't expect to walk in at the last meeting and upset the apple cart with new
ideas. You have to get involved early, and have your facts collected so that you can
prevail in the early discussions. If done well, and with support from your cycling
friends your ideas will then be adopted by the process. Use these articles as your
Bicyclists and the Language of
Marginalization A telling analysis
of the treatment afforded cyclists in today's transportation mix. Mighk
Wilson's essay explains how and why cyclists are treated like social
outcasts, minorities, and provides insight to ways to combat this
Bike Lanes vs
Wide Outside Lanes Here at Bicycling Life we are not
particularly fond of bike paths, especially those that parallel urban streets. But
did you know there are arguments both for and against Bike Lanes as well.
Wayne Pein's well reasoned punch list discusses the pros and cons of bike lanes
versus simply making the curb lane wider and forgetting about the paint.
Wide Lanes When you lobby for Wide Outside Lanes you
have to be prepared to answer specific criticisms, and counter the claims made by Bike
Path proponents and bike lane proponents as well. This article gives a couple of
insitefull points to consider.
Cycling Needs Tim Hall's well reasoned article on
what cycling needs to be more mainstream and more accepted as a viable means of
transportation in the U.S. A year around commuter, Tim succinctly identifies the
central problems curtailing the acceptance of cycling, the fear-mongering, the waste of
infrastructure dollars, and the political hangers-on that impede the development of
Advocacy for Bicycling There are ways that cyclists
can have influence beyond their numbers. By far the most productive methods do
require some time, perhaps some research, and some patience. Getting involved with
the low-level government processes that take place in almost every part of America allows
the bicycling community to affect the outcome of future construction, funding,
rule-making, and law enforcement. This article explains the typical government
meetings and processes by which most decisions are made. Our aim is to provide you
with a basic familiarity of the process, as well as the pitfalls, and thereby prepare you
to participate in the public process.
Companion Article: Tactics to Watch Out For, Some common ploys used at public
meetings by various people for various purposes. Some of these are very common when
dealing with Bicycling issues.
Bureaucracy Involvement at the local level often starts
with working against misconceptions and fearful prejudices. Merely showing up sets an
example, and showing up on a bike sets a fine example. Here is one such example of
participation in a local setting which can have the effect of nudging the bureaucracy into
better accommodation of cyclists.
Cycling There are ways you can get involved in small ways
that may make a big impact. None of the projects we recommend are going to take over
your life, or even get you off your bike. They are low-budget projects which do not
require massive amounts of time and effort. Great projects for your club, or just as
We Have Instead of building a network of bike paths
at exorbitant expense, this article makes the case that the existing road system is the
best place for bikes. When lobbying for improvements to your cycling environment,
consider the fact that you may already have the best of bicycling facilities, right there
at the end of your driveway.
Bringing Home the
Bacon Analytical Reasoning 101. Choosing the right
tool for the job is the first step to getting positive results. Often just framing
the question in the appropriate terms starts one on the road to a solution.
Bikes? Many Police departments around the country
are turning to bicycles to get the job done. It's not just a bunch of "Pacific
Blue" copycats. Cities and towns across the US, Canada are learning from the
British Bicycle Bobbies and putting officers on the street on bicycles. These bike
patrols have proved popular with citizens and effective in action, with arrest records
higher than motorized units. A criminal may think about just driving away from a
bike cop, but as one Juneau Alaska bicycle officer said "Nobody outruns