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News / Blog

BikeTexas BikeNews

Action Alert: Contact House Transportation Committee Members TODAY

BikeNews; Action Alerts

A motorist passes a cyclist safely.Complete Streets (HB 1102) and Safe Passing (HB 2225) have both had their initial hearing in the House Transportation Committee. We're hoping these bills will come up for a vote in the House Transportation Committee tomorrow, April 23. We need your help!

Listed below are those representatives who have not yet confirmed a YES vote for Complete Streets and Safe Passing. If any of these committee members represent you, please contact him or her TODAY to ask for his/her vote on Complete Streets and Safe Passing.

Not sure who represents you? Go here to find your representative.

If your representative isn't listed, hold tight! There will be time for everyone to act as soon as we get these bills out of committee.

Rep. Larry Phillips (Committee Chairman), District 62

Rep. Cindy Burkett, District 113

Rep. Yvonne Davis, District 111

Rep. Bobby Guerra, District 41

TAKE ACTION NOW:

  • Call or email your representative’s office now and ask for his/her support for HB 1102 and HB 2225.
  • Each member’s name above is a link to his/her page with a phone number and email form. NOTE: Please call the Austin office, not the district office.
  • BikeTexas has found the following format to be most effective when communicating with elected officials:

1. My name is _____ and I live in District _____.

2. My occupation is _____.

3. I (or my spouse/child/parent) ride a bicycle.

4. Will Rep. _____ vote Yes on Complete Streets and Safe Passing?

  • Be polite. Thank the staff for their time. They field hundreds of angry calls every day, so let's make sure cyclists stand out by being courteous. Giving the staffers and the representative a positive impression of Texas cyclists could be the difference in getting the bills passed!
  • Please take a moment to contact us ( Esta dirección electrónica esta protegida contra spambots. Es necesario activar Javascript para visualizarla ) and let us know if you've reached your Representative's office and how they respond. ACT NOW so Complete Streets and Safe Passing can move out of committee and on to the full House before time runs out on the session.

If none of these are your representative, please do not contact them! Elected officials respond to their own constituents. Don't worry; there will be plenty of opportunities for everyone in Texas to contact their representatives and senators soon!

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

   

Start Planning Your Bike to School Day Now!

BikeNews; Education Fund

Image of brain activity after sitting and after walking.May 8 is National Bike and Walk to School Day! But you don't have to follow the crowd: any day that is convenient for your school will be beneficial. Start planning now to have a Bike and Walk to School Day before the end of the school year!

Not sure where to start? We have you covered! Download the BikeTexas Safe Routes to School Event Manual, which gives parents, teachers, and youth community workers the tools and resources to organize several types of bike and walking events for their school, neighborhood or community.

The handbook provides step by step instructions to guide you in planning a successful day! In addition to Bike and Walk to School Day, there are how-tos for other bike and walk events: Bike/Walk Rodeo, Kids Fun Race, Neighborhood Walk and Roll, and making a Bike/Walk event into a fund raiser.

Walking or riding to school can help children reach the recommended level of sixty minutes of physical activity per day. Research also shows that physical activity contributes to a child's academic achievement and mental health (picture at right is from this research article).

A school's first Bike and Walk to School Day could be the jump start that students and their parents need when they realize that walking or biking is a great way to start the day. If more students walk or bike, there can also be a reduction in traffic congestion at the school, resulting in calmer drop-off and pickup times and increased safety for all students, teachers, and parents who travel to and from school.

Mapping out routes for the day can be beneficial for all students for Bike and Walk day and for the days after the event. City planning officials can identify locations that need some attention with crossing guards, marking crosswalks, sidewalk improvements, or crossing lights.

The Event Handbook was designed to share with your PTA leaders so they can assist a school in putting on fun and active events. The section on how to have events be a way to raise funds will be helpful in many ways. Download your Event Handbook today and have a GREAT Bike and Walk to School Day!

   

Riding 24/7

BikeNews; Community

Liam Musgrove with his delivery bike.By Anne Gorman

Liam Musgrove, a 27 year-old Houstonian, expresses his love of cycling by offering a whole new level of convenience and luxury to Houston’s most dense urban neighborhoods.

Clutch Delivery, the city’s first full-service bicycle delivery company, rides around the clock to provide the most time-savvy individuals with what they’d like to have, be it to-go food, groceries, farmers’ market items, prescriptions or normal courier packages. Clutch Delivery was built out of Liam’s commitment to pedal power as a way to reduce the carbon footprint that the delivery industry tends to create. He sees cycling as the best option for deliveries, making the erasure of miles driven a reality in a town so closely linked to the perpetuation of car culture. His business model provides affordable delivery options to locally owned restaurants and other small businesses. Since his list of spots to pick up from is flexible, he offers local workers and residents a larger variety of options for lunch and dinner. As his goals are fulfilled, he hopes to have built a utopian cycling life, which will support him and four to eight individuals.

Through high school, Liam rode the MS150 with members of the school swim team. Since then, he decided to give up driving an automobile and has developed and maintained a car(e)-free urban lifestyle. He enjoys bike polo and has a knack for masterminding bike scavenger hunts.

These days his bicycle sports a cargo rack and, occasionally, a trailer with a maximum load ability of 150 pounds. His business is growing, but is only a fraction of what it could be a decade from now.

See www.clutchdelivery.com for more details.

   

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

BikeNews; Advocacy

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, Esta dirección electrónica esta protegida contra spambots. Es necesario activar Javascript para visualizarla

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!

   

Action Alert: Complete Streets and Safe Passing Hearing in House Transportation Committee on April 9

BikeNews; Action Alerts

BikeTexas Executive Director Robin Stallings testified to the House Transportation Committee in the 2011 Session.Great news! Complete Streets (HB 1102) and Safe Passing (HB 2225) have both been scheduled for a hearing in the House Transportation Committee on Tuesday, April 9. We’re thrilled that both of these bills have reached the next step toward coming to a vote. Now you can help get them out of committee and onto the House floor!

Some members of the Transportation Committee are not yet ready to vote “Yes” on these bills. If any of these Transportation Committee members are your representative, please contact them immediately to ask them to vote Yes for Complete Streets and Safe Passing:

Rep. Larry Phillips (Committee Chairman), District 62 

Rep. Cindy Burkett, District 113 

Rep. Allen Fletcher, District 130 

Rep. Bobby Guerra, District 41 

Rep. George Lavender, District 1 

Rep. Joe Pickett, District 79 

Rep. Debbie Riddle, District 150 

TAKE ACTION NOW:

  • Call or email your representative’s office now and ask for his/her support for HB 1102 and HB 2225.
  • Each member’s name above is a link to his/her page with a phone number and email form. NOTE: Please call the Austin office, not the district office.
  • BikeTexas has found the following format to be most effective when communicating with elected officials:

1. My name is _____ and I live in District _____.

2. My occupation is _____.

3. I (or my spouse/child/parent) ride a bicycle.

4. Will Rep. _____ vote Yes on Complete Streets and Safe Passing?

  • Be polite. Thank the staff for their time. They field hundreds of angry calls every day, so let's make sure cyclists stand out by being courteous. Giving the staffers and the representative a positive impression of Texas cyclists could be the difference in getting the bills passed!
  • Please take a moment to contact us ( Esta dirección electrónica esta protegida contra spambots. Es necesario activar Javascript para visualizarla ) and let us know if you've reached your Representative's office and how they respond. ACT NOW so Complete Streets and Safe Passing can come to a vote before time runs out on the session.

If these are not your representatives, please do not contact them! Elected officials respond to their own constituents. Don't worry; there will be plenty of opportunities for everyone in Texas to contact their representatives and senators soon!

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

   

On the Lege: March Activities

BikeNews; Advocacy

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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