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Fri, Aug 22 7:00pm - 11:00pm
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Advocacy News

Shifting Gears 2013 a Great Success

John Pucher in IrvingJohn Pucher wowed audiences in three Texas cities during the Shifting Gears Lecture Series, sponsored by BikeTexas, Partnership for Healthy Texas, Campaign for Healthy Kids, and AARP. Dr. Pucher is an engaging speaker with a vast knowledge of the challenges and opportunities facing our transportation system, and his talks were well received in Irving, Austin, and Houston.

Dr. Pucher discussed the economic and public health benefits of active transportation, and why it benefits cities and states to plan for all road users. For example, Dr. Pucher said, for $30 million in transportation expenditures, a city can get:
1 mile of street (car lane) widening; or
20 miles of physically separated cycle tracks; or
30 miles of high-quality off-road bike trails; or
100 miles of sidewalk; or
120 miles of bike boulevards.

You can see all of the slides from Dr. Pucher's presentations here.  Many local businesses and organizations joined in to sponsor the presentation in their respective cities. See the full list of sponsors for Irving, Austin, and Houston.

Shifting Gears will be back for the next legislative session in 2015! But you don't have to wait that long to hear from more great speakers about the benefits of biking and walking. Register now to attend the Texas Trails and Active Transportation (TTAT) Conference March 26-28, 2014, in Fort Worth. The conference is a great place to discuss ideas, successes, and challenges from across Texas. Register now for early bird pricing! 

Have a session idea for TTAT? Propose a session here. 


You May Be Missing Something!

Sign up for Action AlertsAre you signed up for BikeTexas Action Alerts? We sent out targeted emails when your influence can make a difference with your senator or representative. So far this session, we've sent emails to Texans who live in the House Transportation Committee member districts, and we have more targeted emails coming soon. Additionally, there are times when we need everyone to contact an elected official, which should be coming soon for this session.

And it's not just during the Texas Legislature session that alerts go out: We have action alerts at the local and national levels, too, like last year when Congress nearly took away all bike/ped funding. Your voice matters!

Don't miss out on your chance to use your vote to make Texas a great place to bike and walk. Sign up for BikeTexas Action Alerts (including your legislative districts) now! 






Support BikeTexas at H-E-B and with Reliant Energy

Here are two ways to support BikeTexas through EarthShare programs!
HEB Promotional Flier

H-E-B Tear Pad Campaign
BikeTexas is pleased to announce that H-E-B has selected EarthShare of Texas to be the April beneficiary for its in-store coupon promotion. As an EarthShare partner, BikeTexas will benefit from this promotion as well!

Whenever you shop at H-E-B from now until May 4, grab one of the tear-off coupons at the register to add $1, $3, or $5 to your total bill. Those extra dollars go to EarthShare, and at the end of the campaign, BikeTexas will get a portion of EarthShare's total proceeds for the month. You can join in at any H-E-B in Texas. Support bicycle advocacy while you pick up your lettuce!

If you go into your local H-E-B and don't see the tear pads at the register, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Reliant Promotional FlierReliant EcoShare Program
Reliant Energy customers can also contribute to the EarthShare campaign. Reliant will donate to EarthShare every time a Texas customer purchases a carbon offset. BikeTexas also receives a portion of those donations. Learn more about the carbon offset program and sign up here!

BikeTexas is happy to be partnered with many organizations across Texas who also want to make Texas a great place to bike and walk. Thank you for supporting BikeTexas!


Cyclists in Suits 2013 a Success

Cyclists explain Complete Streets and give a bike pin to legislative staff.

Cyclists in Suits 2013 has come and gone, and the day was a great success! With 80 participants from all over the state, it was the largest Bike Lobby Day yet.

Buses started arriving early in the morning at the Capitol, and advocates spent time getting to know one another before the briefing session. BikeTexas Executive Director Robin Stallings and Legislative Director Mark Stine went over the key points of the Complete Streets and Safe Passing bills. All participants were assigned to teams and sent out to visit all 181 legislative offices. As Tom Compson of Houston said, "Our elected officials need to know that there is strong support for bicycle-friendly legislation." The reception that Cyclists in Suits participants received from the legislative offices was overall very positive!

After lunch, participants gathered in the Senate Gallery to hear a proclamation from Senator Rodney Ellis, thanking Texas cyclists for their contributions to the health and economy of the State. Participants then gathered on the Capitol steps for a group photo before heading to the BikeTexas office for happy hour to exchange stories about the day.

Cyclists gather in the Senate gallery.Even though the buses to DFW and Houston had a long way to go to get back home, participants were all still able to spend some time meeting other advocates before heading back. Some participants were able to stay longer and continue talking about making Texas a great place to walk and bike.

Veteran Cyclists in Suits participants Paul and Lynne Harris from Bedford brought their 16-year-old grandson with them for his second Cyclists in Suits. Paul said, "He had a real blast and is already talking about going back next time. If you have kids or grandkids who are mature enough to grasp what we are doing, you should bring them along to see the legislative process in action."

Did you miss out on Cyclists in Suits? We'll be doing it all again at the next legislative session in 2015. You haven't missed your chance to influence the legislature, though! Keep an eye out for Action Alerts at key moments for our bills over the next few weeks. We still have a lot of work ahead to make Complete Streets and Safe Passing a reality for Texas!

CIS participants on the Capitol steps.


On the Lege: March Activities

Cyclists in Suits participantsAfter a successful Cyclists in Suits Bike Lobby Day on Monday, March 25, BikeTexas legislative staff members look to take the next steps on the two primary bills on the BikeTexas agenda, Complete Streets (HB 1102 / SB 565) and Safe Passing (HB 2225 / SB 1515). Each bill has been referred to the appropriate committee: House Transportation Committee and the Senate Transportation and Homeland Security Committees. We await committee hearing dates on each bill.

The Safe Passing Bill was filed on March 8, 2013. Senator Rodney Ellis filed the Senate version of the bill. The House bill is authored by Ruth Jones McClendon (D-San Antonio); Armando Martinez (D-Weslaco); Linda Harper-Brown (R-Irving); and Jim Keffer (R-Eastland).

We last pursued a Safe Passing Bill in the 2009 session, but that bill was vetoed by the governor despite strong bipartisan support. The 2013 bill uses much of the same language as the 2009 bill and the thirteen local ordinances in cities across Texas, but we have taken measures to address the Governor’s concern about “creating a new class of road users.” BikeTexas believes changing the language from “Vulnerable Road Users” to unprotected road users (uncapitalized and without quotes) will help the Governor view the bill as an appropriate and necessary addition to the traffic safety culture in Texas.

BikeTexas staff has developed information sheets focused on the economic value and safety impact of the Complete Streets law. Staff has visited with all offices of legislative members on the transportation committees. Support is promising but not complete at this point. If your representative or senator is on the transportation committee, please be watching for an Action Alert in your inbox soon. We will need your help to get Complete Streets over this hurdle and on to the next step in the process.

Working on legislation is always an uphill battle and 2013 is no different. BikeTexas staff faces real challenges, some familiar and some new. In spite of this, there are a number of possible avenues to success. Here are some of the things in favor of bicyclists and pedestrians in the legislature:

  1. With time and experience, BikeTexas is presenting bills in ways to help Texas legislators feel comfortable with a “yes” vote. We have better developed the economic argument for Complete Streets. We have linked bicyclists and pedestrian safety to overall roadway safety for Safe Passing.
  2. We constantly receive compliments and thanks from the offices for making our information sheets about the issues easy to understand. These handouts have the key points that the legislator needs to know in a concise format. Cyclists in Suits participants combined these materials with positive attitudes and enthusiasm to execute a truly stellar one-day canvass of all 181 legislative offices.
  3. After many sessions, many legislators and staff know us and what we’re about. We have worked hard to respect the environment in which they must perform, and we strive to make them feel comfortable with trusting us about bike/ped issues.

However, the challenges are not small:

  1. We must continually mold our message to educate officials. The legislators and staff have many issues calling for their attention, so we have to make them see the importance of our issues in short periods of time.
  2. The legislature is shifting. Many new members are not immediately receptive to our message and we must build a relationship with them just as we’ve done with other legislators. This relationship building is crucial, but takes time.
  3. From a practical standpoint, we need to know that “yes” votes are lined up before asking the our legislative allies to use valuable political capital to get a committee hearing for bills like Complete Streets and Safe Passing.

The bill authors have requested committee hearings on Complete Streets and Safe Passing. BikeTexas is optimistic about the prospects these bills. Thank you for supporting BikeTexas as we strive to make Texas a great place to walk and bike.


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