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Events Calendar

Wed, Jul 30 5:30pm - 8:30pm
5125 Convict Hill Rd, Austin, TX 78749, USA
Open House On The Violet Crown Trail Design Project (Austin)

Thu, Jul 31 6:00pm - 8:00pm

RGV Advocacy Training

Sun, Aug 3 1:00pm - 4:00pm
1902 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78702, USA
Statewide Advocacy Training

Tue, Aug 5 7:00pm - 10:00pm
Brownsville Sports Park, Sports Park Boulevard, Olmito, TX, United States
National Night Out (Brownsville)

Fri, Aug 22 7:00pm - 11:00pm
Brownsville, TX
CycloBia Brownsville

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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.

   

Texans at 2013 National Bike Summit

Texas delegation at NBS 13.Eighteen Texans, including four BikeTexas staff, were in Washington, D.C. this week for the National Bike Summit. Texas sends a strong delegation every year, and 2013 was no exception! This year's theme was "Bicycling Means Business," and many speakers addressed the ways in which cycling benefits businesses and local economies across the nation.

In addition to our delegates being in D.C., Texas bike leaders also spoke at the conference: Jason Roberts of Dallas-based Team Better Block and the City of Austin's Director of Public Works Howard Lazarus both addressed the national audience during breakout sessions at the conference on Tuesday. Mr. Lazarus’ talk about how separated bike lanes are attracting new businesses was particularly rousing for those in attendance.

Wednesday was the official Bike Lobby Day at the nation’s capitol. Our delegation broke into five teams to visit 35 congressional offices and talk to Texas Senators and Representatives about the importance of bicycles to the economy and health of our state.

Of course, Twitter was buzzing with coverage of the conference (and if you missed it, search hashtag #NBS13 to read all the tweets), and our delegates chipped in to share all the summit news. BikeTexas collected all the tweets written for or about Texans during the conference: you can read and check the photos. Monday's tweets are here, Tuesday's are here, and Wednesday's are here.

Does this sound like something you'd love to be a part of? Start planning now to be in the Texas Delegation in 2014!

You can experience the Texas version of this event in Austin on March 25. We’re expecting over 70 people from around the state to converge on the state capitol for Cyclists in Suits – Texas’ Bike Lobby Day. Register now at BikeTexas.org/suits.

   

Complete Streets is Filed in the Legislature!

The 2013 Complete Streets bill has been filed in the legislature! The bill has a bipartisan range of authors in each chamber. After the bill ran out of time in 2011, it was decided to use the language for the bills that was negotiated in committee in 2011 to accelerate the bills' progress through the legislature.

Click on the bill numbers below for more details:

SB 565, authored by Senators Ellis and Deuell, and coauthored by Senators Davis, Lucio, Rodríguez, and Watson.

HB 1102, authored by Representatives Harper-Brown, Morrison, Mando Martinez, Lucio III, and Keffer.

Many thanks to the bill authors for their support! Stay tuned for Action Alerts, to be sent out when a phone call or email from you can help push this bill through the legislature. Learn more about Complete Streets here.

   

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