submitted by BikeDFW
“I feel that now it is up to us to really beat the bushes, so to speak, and get that average non cyclist to pay attention and help with our cause,” says BikeDFW president Eric Jackson. “If we can get the average person to accept cycling in greater DFW as a good thing and a viable means of transportation, we will have accomplished more than enough to say this organization matters.” Luckily, we’ve had the assistance of several local news stations who have covered our petition in light of the recent string of cyclist-related crashes in the past few months, including Channel 11 KTVT, CW33, and at least two articles in the Dallas Morning News.
While this has made quite impact on our petition, word of mouth will continue to be our greatest ally towards gaining signatures. This means metroplex cyclists need to make sure that friends, family, and other acquaintances know what riding a bike means to us, and why we want to keep it safe.
The next step is just that, making it our mission to make cycling safety a community issue, acknowledged by our local officials and motorists. “It needs to be about our communities,” BikeDFW Vice President Barry Zajac noted, “it needs to be about the safety of our streets in general as a component of the quality of life and aesthetic of our communities; it needs to be about cycling being a part of, not apart from, the things that attract people to live in certain places.”
In other words, safer roads don’t just make for better biking, they make communities safer for children, pedestrian traffic, construction workers, animals, police officers, other motorists, and generally anyone else who has to live near or be on these streets. This is why it is imperative our voice is heard by our elected officials, and our petition is just one more step down that road.
However, BikeDFW could still use your help in making your communities a better place for cycling. How can you do this?
1) Volunteering – BikeDFW is run entirely by volunteers, who sacrifice their time and effort in order to bring you a safer metroplex. However, there is always work to do that can’t be done by us, so any help is always appreciated. We need people to do everything from volunteering at specific activities, helping with membership drives and dues, to canvassing local bike shops, and the list only goes on. To see a comprehensive list of what we are looking for and how you can help, point your browser HERE.
2) Membership and Donations – BikeDFW is run with money provided to us by members, donors, and sponsors. Any help on this front is also greatly appreciated. Membership and donation are both tax-deductible and the money provided goes to pay for things like server fees, advertising, and other things important to our movement. Information about membership can be found HERE. Information about donating to the cause can be found HERE.
3) Sponsorship – Does your company or organization have especially bike-friendly or green policies? Sponsoring us helps us gain even more ground towards making DFW a safer place to ride your bike. Several local entities involved in sponsoring include Richardson Bike Mart, the Plano Bicycling Association, and the Mirage Cycling Team. More information about sponsoring can be had by emailing action@BikeDFW.org.
4) The petition – Once again, we are looking to score at least a hundred thousand signatures on our petition to make DFW streets a little safer. Anything you can do to spread the word of this petition is greatly appreciated. Tell your family, tell your friends, and remember that cycling safety is everybody’s problem. “We need to educate ourselves, cyclists, first and then work on educating others as to how we can all co-exist on the roads of North Texas,” says Eric, and one of the first steps towards that is our petition. We need to prove the cyclists and people fighting for cyclists are out there, and then we need to make those voices heard.
5) Write letters to your city councilman, your mayor, and state and national legislators. Show up at city council meetings and take your 3 minutes to speak about cycling. And let us know when your city council meetings are and when you plan to speak so we can let other interested parties in your community know to show up and support you!
Those who are hesitant about what we can achieve need to only look no further than Washington D.C., where after thirty years of dedicated advocacy from the Washington Area Bicyclists Association, the local government began implementing more bike-friendly policies. These include a planned 105 miles of safe bicycling routes, a city-run bicycle rental service called SmartBike, and drastically increased bicycle parking availability. Washington D.C. has instituted so many of these policies that they were named one of Bicycling Magazine’s “Most Improved Cycling Cities of 2008.” It stands to be noted, however, that at the top of the list for “Worst Cities for Cycling” was DFW and the surrounding area, which just goes to show how much work there is to do.
So volunteering, donating, joining, or even getting your friends and co-workers to sign the petition and get even a little interested in bicycling safety are all ways you can help, and we look forward to having your assistance. So until then, let’s keep riding safe and encouraging others to do the same!