A Great Texas Bike Lobby Day: Cyclists in Suits 2011
The state Capitol was awash in neon BikeTexas bicycle pins after about 40 cyclists and advocates descended on Austin for Cyclists in Suits Texas Bike Lobby Day on Monday, March 21. Cyclists from all over Texas split into small teams and met individually with transportation staffers in every legislative office at the Capitol — all 181 of them — to discuss key pieces of bike-friendly legislation filed this session.
Legislative staff was receptive and interested. Discussions with staffers are a great way to place a bill on a legislator’s radar; the information distributed by BikeTexas will then be passed on to representatives and senators as each bill comes up for a hearing or vote. Chief among the bills shared was HB 1105/ SB 513, the Complete Streets bill. This legislation would ensure that new road construction and reconstruction projects consider all road users in their design — meaning cyclists, pedestrians, bus riders and the disabled — not just motorists. Examples of such design might include bike lanes, crosswalks, sidewalks and space for busses to stop without impeding the flow of traffic. The legislation applies to road projects that use state or federal funding. Volunteers also shared information about HB 1943, which would provide utility right-of-way for bike trails in Houston and El Paso, and HB 1583, which would require cyclists to use a red rear light at night. After every legislator’s office had been contacted, bike lobby day participants gathered on the Capitol steps for a photo. Their hard work was rewarded at the end of the day with a happy hour at the BikeTexas offices.