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Events Calendar

Tue, Apr 2210:00am - 11:00am
Plaza Saltillo Station, Austin, TX, United States
MetroBike Shelters Grand Opening (Austin)

Wed, Apr 23 1:00pm - 4:00pm
2929 Research Parkway College Station, Texas, Gibb Gilchrest Building Room 103
TxDOT Strategic Highway Safety Plan - College Station Workshop

Sat, Apr 26 - Sun, Apr 27
Fair Park, Dallas, TX, United States
Earth Day Texas

Sat, Apr 26
910 N Main St, Weatherford, TX 76086
Bike Out Hunger Weatherford

Sat, Apr 26 9:00am - 10:00am
1100 Northwest 18th Street, Fort Worth, TX, United States
Public Awareness Bond/CCPD Meeting (Fort Worth)

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News / Blog Advocacy News
Advocacy News

On the Lege: January Activities

Legislative Interns, Senator Rodney Ellis, and BikeTexas staff ride on January 6.BikeTexas staff had an engaging first month of the Texas Legislature, reestablishing relationships with returning members and staff and meeting legislative newcomers. Our primary focus this month has been soliciting authors for the Safe Passing and Complete Streets bills.

BikeTexas staff started working before the session even began, with a January 6th bike ride in Austin for legislative interns. Many of the interns had just arrived in Austin to start their new legislative work, including one young woman from Zambia.

AARP and BikeTexas hosted a luncheon for legislators on January 23rd, featuring liveable communities expert Dan Burden. BikeTexas staff visited every legislative office (150 House and 31 Senate) to distribute invitations for the luncheon. A full house of legislators and legislative staff came to the luncheon to hear why Complete Streets are great for Texas.

In February, we anticipate the filing of the Safe Passing and Complete Streets bills. BikeTexas staff will then talk to transportation committee members in both the House and Senate to build support for a hearing and vote there.

By Cyclists in Suits Lobby Day on March 25, we expect to focus on educating the entire House and Senate membership about these cycling-friendly bills. Your participation on Cyclists in Suits Day will be critical to help us reach every office and ask for the votes we need!

As the session progresses, we will need your support. Even if you can't make it to Austin for Cyclists in Suits, make sure to keep an eye out for Action Alerts and updates as cycling legislation works its way through the legislative process. Additionally, you can make a donation to BikeTexas' legislative work here.

Thank you for helping to make Texas a great place to walk and bike!

 

Ride Your Charity Miles!

By Beth Nobles, Texas Mountain Trail

Charity Miles LogoNext time you head out for a long training ride or a jaunt around town, you could be logging miles and earning dollars for your favorite charity, through a new iPhone or Android app called Charity Miles.

A brainchild of a leading volunteer for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, the app will track your miles using GPS and allow you to designate 10 cents per cycling mile and 25 cents per walking/running mile to your choice of charities, including:

Achilles International

ASPCA

Autism Speaks

DoSomething.org

Every Mother Counts

Feeding America

Habitat for Humanity

Ironman Foundation

Partnership for a Healthier America

Pencils of Promise

Stand Up to Cancer

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research

The Nature Conservancy

The World Food Programme

Wounded Warrior Project

Paige Phelps of the West Texas Food Bank started using the Charity Miles app recently in her walks and rides around Marfa. “Lots of apps help you track your performance, but Charity Miles is the only one that will track your values. While you’re out there already doing what you do –running, walking and biking— why not download the free app and click Feeding America? Every mile you log is money in the bank for the nation’s network of food banks.”

Cyclist Brenda Taylor Coleman of Yoakum says the app is “simple to use and a super easy way to support your favorite charity. I worked for Habitat for Humanity for 15 years so I am a huge fan! If I meet my goal this year of 6,000 miles that would be $600 dollars - you can buy some sticks and bricks with that!”

Participation is free. Users are required to post their miles through Facebook and Twitter to encourage others to take part. Three of Charity Miles' founders (Gene Gurkoff, David Nottoli and Joe Marinucci) are self-funding the first $1 million and are soliciting corporate sponsors to continue the project. For more information, visit the Charity Miles website or their Facebook page.

BikeTexas may not be on the list of charities to choose from for this app, but we're all about doing good in the world. Put your smartphone and your cycling time to good use for one of the great charities on the list. Maybe someday BikeTexas will be on an app like this, too!

 

   

Two Interns Join BikeTexas

Many university students have called BikeTexas home for a semester or two, and this spring is no exception. BikeTexas is happy to welcome two interns to our midst this semester: Steffi Scholer and Max Williamson.

Steffi Scholer meets with legislative aides at the Capitol.Steffi Scholer is a senior at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas. She is a mechanic at Bicycle Sport Shop on Parmer and has been involved in the cycling communities in Austin, Georgetown, and her home city of Dallas for the past few years. Steffi says, "I am extremely excited to be interning at BikeTexas this semester and I look forward to learning from the staff of BikeTexas and also from the great cycling community of Austin, TX and beyond."

 

 

 

 

 

Max Williamson heads to the Capitol with BikeTexas staff and J.R. Chandler of Biking Babes.Max Williamson comes to us from the University of New Orleans Transportation Institute, where his research focused on sustainable transportation. His Master of Urban and Regional Planning thesis examined bike share systems across the United States. He was awarded a Dwight D. Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship through the US-Department of Transportation for his innovative research, and worked on transportation projects in India and Western Australia as an assistant researcher at Curtin University Sustainability Policy (CUSP) Institute in Fremantle, Western Australia. Max is no stranger to bicycle advocacy, having previously worked as the database administrator and policy advisor for the New Orleans group, Bike Easy. Max says, "I'm happy to be at BikeTexas focusing on the new and existing transportation challenges associated with the rapid urbanization of Texas."

   

New Legislative Interns Enjoy Bike Ride

Interns ride on Butler Hike and Bike TrailOn a beautiful Sunday morning before the start of the 83rd Texas Legislature, 18 legislative interns joined Senator Rodney Ellis and BikeTexas staff for a bike ride around downtown Austin. The interns include young men and women from around Texas and the world looking to gain legal or political experience as part of a higher education program. The group, many of whom had just moved to Austin, took in Lady Bird Lake Trail, the Pfluger Bridge, the bikeway, and other sights of downtown as they relaxed before starting their work in the legislature.

BikeTexas has other bike rides planned for the legislative session. We hope to get as many legislators, their staffs, and their families on bicycles as we can! These rides are an opportunity to get to know policymakers and introduce them to the needs of cyclists. For many, a BikeTexas ride is the first time they've been on a bicycle since their early teens and they get to re-experience the joy of cycling.

For the interns on Sunday’s ride, many of whom may go on to be policymakers in Texas, this was a chance to instill a love of cycling that will last throughout their careers.

   

What Can I Do: On the Road

Legislative Interns on a ride through Austin.Ride right!

Keep in mind that the best ambassador for cycling is a courteous, law-abiding cyclist. It's unfair that a motorist who thinks nothing of speeding or rolling through a stop sign will rant about a cyclist scooting through a red light a few seconds early, but unfortunately, that's where we are right now. Some drivers will never be convinced that a bicycle is a legitimate vehicle that has the same rights to the roadways as cars do, but for those who are open to persuasion, a little polite cycling goes a long way.

Please also remember that one of those ranting drivers may be your representative home for the weekend, or a reporter who would love nothing better than to dig up some dirt and write a cyclist-bashing story. While some drivers exhibit inexcusable behavior on the roads, the more cyclists who keep the laws, better off we all are. This is also good to keep in mind if you're cycling through Austin. There are going to be new legislators who are not accustomed to seeing so many bicycles on the streets-- as far as it depends on us, let's show them that cyclists are the responsible road users that every operator should be.

If you're riding on or near the Capitol grounds, slow down even more than usual and show an extra measure of consideration for pedestrians--especially those in suits talking on a cell phone while darting across the road without looking first. No one wins in a shouting match about who had the right-of-way.

Educate your neighbors.

 

No one wins a shouting match, but if you come across someone who is genuinely interested in hearing a cyclist's point of view, don't pass up the opportunity! The best thing to do is to invite him or her to join you on a bike ride, but if you can't do that, talk about the things we need: Space on the road, courtesy from other road users, and dedicated infrastructure.

If you use a camera while you ride, invite your friend to watch how closely some motorists will pass. If you don't have your own camera, you can find plenty of video online from other cyclists. (Using a camera also encourages good behavior on the part of the cyclist, since the recording goes both ways!)

A common complaint from angry non-cyclists is that bicycles don't pay to use the roadway. This comes from a misconception that gas taxes, registration fees, and similar "user fees" pay for roads by themselves. Of course, that's not true; those fees pay for about 51% of road construction and maintenance, with the rest of the money coming from other sources. 

There are plenty of resources available online to answer almost any question your friends may have about cycling. Try the BikeTexas website, the League of American Bicyclists, or your local bike group for the information you need.

   

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