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The 84th Texas Legislative session began Tuesday, January 13! If you aren't a legislator or full-time lobbyist, you may be wondering what you can do to help cycling in Texas this session. Legislators and their staff become very busy as the session progresses, even to the point of exhaustion in the final weeks of the session. BikeTexas staff needs your help with the following areas during the session to move the bicyclist/pedestrian agenda forward in the most effective manner:
1. Become a member of BikeTexas.
Numbers matter! The more Texas cyclists who are members of BikeTexas, the more voices and influence we have with legislators. Additionally, sustaining members help us focus on educating and persuading lawmakers without having to divert our attention and energy to fund-raising during the session.
2. Make sure you're getting our Action Alerts.
At crucial moments during the session, we'll send out Action Alerts via email, Twitter, Facebook, and the BikeTexas website. However you choose to receive alerts, make sure you're getting them. Read more here.
3. Come to Cyclists in Suits!
You are cordially invited, and in fact, respectfully urged, to join us at the Eighth Biennial Cyclists in Suits - Texas' Bike Lobby Day on Monday, March 30, at the Texas Capitol. In late March, bicycle and pedestrian legislation is often at a point in the process where citizen-lobbyists can influence a favorable outcome. Read more here.
4. Ask your representatives to attend policy luncheons and bike rides!
Each session, BikeTexas hosts and invites Legislators and their staff to Legislative Luncheons at or near the Capitol, featuring a highly regarded expert in bicycle/pedestrian issues. We also have bike rides planned for legislators that you can encourage your representative to attend. Read more here.
5. Sign a petition!
It's helpful to us to be able to tell a legislator how many people in his or her district support the bills that are important to cyclists. Sign a petition for Complete Streets and for Safe Passing now!
6. Thank your representatives for their support.
Your representatives will be getting plenty of calls and emails this session from people with a complaint or a request. They don't get a thank-you nearly as often. So if your representatives supports cycling, let him or her know about your appreciation! Not only is it a kind gesture, but it can also make your representative more open to hearing from cyclists in the future, when we need a crucial vote. Don't know who your representative is? Check out Who Represents Me? to find out.
And if you can take the time, a handwritten note to your representative is golden.
8. Educate your neighbors.
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. Read more here.
Let's make 2015 a great year for cycling in Texas! Thank you for your support as we move forward in the Legislative Session.