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News / Blog Advocacy News
Advocacy News

Election 2014: Important Dates to Remember

Last Updated on Monday, 03 November 2014 13:51

cyclists in suits 2013 Edit (Nov 3): Election Day is TOMORROW, NOVEMBER 4. Polls in Texas are open 7 AM - 7 PM. Find out what you need to know about your polling place, voter ID, and other questions at votetexas.gov. Make sure you vote-- Texas needs YOUR voice!

If you are already in line when the polls close at 7 PM, do not leave. By law, you WILL be allowed to vote as long as you are in line before the polls close.

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We’ve already seen plenty of action ahead of November’s general election, and the races are sure to get more heated the closer we get to Election Day on November 4. We urge you to be sure you are registered to vote and then cast your ballot for candidates who will support active transportation in your community. Many mayors and city council members, many state legislators, the governor, a U.S. Senate seat, and all U.S. Representative seats are on the ballot this year, along with many local bond initiatives. Stand up and be counted!

  • Monday, October 6: Last Day to Register to Vote
  • Monday, October 20: First Day of Early Voting
  • Friday, October 24: Last Day to Apply for a Ballot By Mail (application must be received by your county clerk on this date)
  • Friday, October 31: Last Day of Early Voting
  • Tuesday, November 4: Election Day. Polls open 7 AM to 7 PM in Texas.

See all these dates, find your polling place, and check out other election information on the Texas Secretary of State’s VoteTexas.gov page here

BikeTexas’ bylaws prohibit us from endorsing specific candidates, but m Many local bicycle advocacy organizations across the state have published or will publish their endorsements in local races. Check with your local advocacy group.

Elections in non-presidential election years (often called midterm elections) have a historically lower turnout than presidential election years. In the last two midterm elections, Texas had among the lowest turnouts in the nation: in 2010, 32.1% of eligible voters cast a ballot, a slight increase from 2006’s 30.9%. (See these numbers and more at the United States Election Project.)

Texas should not be silent: This Election Day, be sure you vote!

Edited October 17, 2014: At the September 2014 Board of Directors meeting, the bylaws were amended to allow BikeTexas to publish endorsements in specific races.

 

Bike Ride at 78th Annual Texas NAACP Convention

NAACP-Framed-Photo-El-Paso2014 marks the fifth year of a bike ride at the Annual Convention of the NAACP Texas State Conference. This year’s conference was in El Paso, so three BikeTexas staff plus 75 bicycles headed out on a Wednesday morning to get to El Paso in plenty of time for the Saturday ride.

The ride is sponsored by Texas NAACP and Walmart, and this year we had the added bonus of having VeloPaso staff and volunteers lending a hand. VeloPaso’s Victor Cordero and Scott White joined BikeTexas for a pre-ride to assess the best route for Saturday.

naacp texas state conference bike ride 2014 biketexas-2

The day of the ride dawned, but we were up long before the sun as BikeTexas, VeloPaso, and Crazy Cat Cyclery were already hard at work getting bikes ready for ride participants. By 7 AM, 60 riders were checked in, equipped with bikes and helmets, and ready to go!

After our usual safety briefing, the group took off for a ride through El Paso and Ft Bliss, including part of the historic officers housing--some of these old homes are on the National Registry of Historic buildings, dating back as far as the late 1800s. 

naacp texas state conference bike ride 2014 biketexas

The route also took us by one of the small parks on base, which houses a replica of the old original Fort Bliss. There were several rooms in the Replica that were outfitted with furnishings from the early 1800s. There was a replica of the wood working shop, the leather shop, and the blacksmith shop. From there, we rode to the historic Parade Ground, and then off base and back to the hotel where the participants were treated to some great coffee and snack bars.

The ride went perfectly smoothly with no problems! All of the participants raved about the route and the great scenery. We’re already looking forward to returning for the sixth NAACP Texas State Conference bike ride in 2015!

 

   

Good Morning, Minneapolis: NCSL Bipartisan Bike Ride 2014

ncsl bipartisan bike ride 2014 ellis robinIt all started in 2005 when Texas Senator Rodney Ellis, inspired by the success of the Sine Die Bipartisan Bike Ride, came to BikeTexas Executive Director Robin Stallings with an idea: Why not do the same kind of ride for legislators at NCSL as BikeTexas already does for Texas legislators?

BikeTexas jumped at the chance and a tradition was born. With local support from the Bicycle Alliance of Washington (now WashBike), we put on the ride for a dozen legislators and their families who were attending the National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL). Word spread quickly and the ride grew year by year to 2014 numbers: Over 150 legislators, their families, and their staff joined BikeTexas and BikeMN staff and volunteers on Friday, August 22, for the 10th NCSL Bipartisan Bike Ride.

Legislative hosts for the ride were:
Texas Sen. Rodney Ellis (D-Houston)
President of the Minnesota Senate Sandy Pappas (DFL-St. Paul)
Minnesota Sen. Julie Rosen (R-Vernon Center)
Minnesota Sen. David Senjem (R-Rochester)
Texas Rep. Linda Harper-Brown (R-Irving)
Minnesota Sen. Scott Dibble (DFL-Minneapolis)

ncsl bipartisan bike ride 2014 groupThe ride was sponsored by Walmart, BNSF Railway, General Mills, Primal Wear, People for Bikes, Quality Bicycle Products, Siemens, and American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).

The Bipartisan Bike Ride is a great way to let lawmakers see firsthand what it’s like to ride a bike through a city, which translates to states taking greater steps forward to make their state bike friendly.

The bike ride is always held early in the morning to give participants a jump on the day and let them see the sights of the NCSL host city in the best way possible-- from the seat of a bicycle. This year’s ride was about 10 miles at an easy pace through Minneapolis landmarks including Cedar Lake Trail, Stone Arch Bridge, the University of Minnesota campus, Hiawatha Bike Trail, and Midtown Bike Center. Minneapolis PD and EMS provided police escorts and EMT backup. BikeMN, whose great work in Minnesota has played a key role in its consistently being one of the best bicycling states in the U.S., partnered with us to showcase their city and its fantastic bicycling facilities. Staff and volunteers get up around 2 AM the day of the ride to get everyone safely rolling by 6:30.

ncsl bipartisan bike ride 2014 happy riderThe best compliment the ride could possibly receive came from a participant from Arizona, who said, “I rode a bike ride for my first time this past week at NCSL and it was amazing! I was worried I could not make that long of a ride, and concerned with riding on the street. All of my concerns disappeared about 1/4 of a way into the ride. It was amazing! … Ongoing, I will definitely start riding in my own town!!”

Next year, the NCSL Bipartisan Bike Ride rolls back to its roots when the conference goes to Seattle. We can’t wait.

See more photos from the ride on the BikeTexas Flickr account.

   

Representative Naishtat Recovering after NCSL Bipartisan Bike Ride Spill

Naishtat NCSL-001Texas Representative Elliott Naishtat (D-Austin) is recovering following hospitalization due to a fall during the 10th Annual NCSL Bipartisan Bike Ride, produced by BikeTexas, BikeMN, and NCSL.

Rep. Naishtat had a spill on his bike after bumping a railing on a bicycle bridge while drinking water from his bottle. He got right back on his bike and finished the route with no apparent problem. He did not get any road rash and did not require assistance from the EMT that was on the ride. There was no automobile or other bicyclist involved in the accident.

A delayed reaction to the spill a few hours later showed swelling to his leg. BikeTexas Executive Director Robin Stallings said, “Rep. Naishtat noticed bruising and swelling on his leg a few hours after the bike ride. Minnesota legislative colleagues urged him to get immediate treatment. A medical tech at the Minneapolis Convention Center confirmed a trip to the hospital was in order and called an ambulance.”

Stallings spent a few hours with Rep. Naishtat on Friday and Saturday until he was moved from ICU to a regular hospital room. Elliott remained very alert and engaged with the doctors and nurses the entire time Stallings was there.

Hennepin County Medical Center RN Sheryl Karvonen told Rep. Naishtat and Stallings, “It is fortunate that Rep. Naishtat rides a bike and walks regularly. His good physical condition will speed up his recovery.”

According to Stallings, Rep. Naishtat is up and walking and doctors have said that he is likely to be released Sunday afternoon or Monday. He will need to keep his leg elevated as much as possible until the swelling goes away. Rep. Naishtat says he may stay with friends in Minneapolis for a couple of days before returning home.

BikeTexas is the lead organizer and producer of the NCSL Bipartisan Bike Ride that takes place at the NCSL Annual Legislative Summit in a different U.S. city each year. The 10.4-mile route for 2014 was primarily on multi-use trails. On the street portion of the route, police provided traffic control so that participants were not exposed to automobile traffic during the event.

BikeTexas provides the bicycles and helmets for the 150 ride participants, who are mostly State Senators, State Representatives and legislative staffers from all over North America. The tenth annual NCSL Bipartisan Bike Ride in Minneapolis included escorts of four police officers on bicycles and about 15 expert-level bicyclists from this year’s local co-producer, BikeMN, as ride marshals and safety monitors. An EMT followed up the rear of the slow paced ride on an electric bicycle with an EMT kit in a bike trailer, with additional ambulance support available within 4 minutes. Hosts of the ride this year included Texas Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) and Texas Representative Linda Harper Brown (R-Irving), as well as President of the Minnesota Senate Sandy Pappas (DFL-St. Paul), Minnesota Senator Scott Dibble (DFL-Minneapolis), Minnesota Senator Julie Rosen (R-Vernon Center), and Minnesota Senator David Senjem (R-Rochester).

Texas Speaker Joe Straus put out a statement on Rep. Naishtat’s condition at 9:21 PM, Saturday, August 23. Read that statement here. 

See more coverage of the NCSL Bipartisan Bike Ride from Streets.MN here. 

   

Statement from Speaker Straus Regarding Rep. Naishtat

Statement from Speaker Straus, sent at 9:21 PM on Saturday, August 23:

 

Please see the below message from Representative Elliott Naishtat.

Representative Elliott Naishtat is improving and has been moved to a regular hospital room after sustaining an injury in a bicycle accident.

An accident while biking with legislative colleagues caused bruising and swelling on his lower leg. The swelling was in part a reaction to blood thinner medication taken to maintain good blood flow through a mechanical heart valve inserted many years ago.

Overall excellent health and fitness are paying off right now. The excellent team of physicians at Hennepin County Medical Center will continue to monitor his condition.

In good spirits, Representative Naishtat said "I am very impressed with the HCMC teaching hospital and looking forward to returning home soon to share some best practices with Austin's new medical school."

We wish Representative Naishtat a safe and speedy recovery.

Office of Administration
Speaker Joe Straus

   

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