Corpus Christi Caller-Times
Saturday, July 31, 2004
Lance’s legacy: Biking champ featured on new license plate
By Ty Meighan Scripps Howard Austin Bureau
AUSTIN – Cycling advocates in Texas are hoping Lance Armstrong’s popularity will lead to strong sales of the new specialty license plate designed to promote bicycle safety.
Armstrong is depicted on the plate along with a Texas flag and the “Share the Road Y’all” slogan at the bottom. The Austin resident recently won his sixth consecutive Tour de France and became the only person to win cycling’s premiere event six times.
The plate is one of more than 150 Texas specialty plates, which promote everything from reading to the Girl Scouts.
The cycling plate costs an extra $30 a year, with $22 going to the Texas Bicycle Coalition to promote safety and awareness programs. So far, 646 “Share the Road” plates have been sold, according to the coalition.
“It’s a fast-selling plate and hopefully, now that Lance has done it again, it will continue to be,” said Christina Flores, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Transportation’s vehicle title registration division, which oversees the specialty-plate program.
Armstrong, a 32-year-old Plano native, is the first living person in Texas history to be honored on a license plate.
“He’s done more than anybody to raise the profile of bicycling in this country,” said Lauri Apple, communications director for the Texas Bicycle Coalition.
The Austin-based coalition was formed in 1990 to fight bicycle bans on Texas roads. It focuses on educating cyclists of all ages and motorists about bicycle access, traffic laws and safety. One program teaches fourth and fifth graders about following traffic laws, wearing helmets, riding safely and nutrition.
The “Share the Road” slogan is designed to remind motorists that cyclists are allowed on roads and to watch out for them. “It’s very important for us to be able to take that message to motorists,” Apple said.
Each year, almost 600,000 people are treated in emergency departments for bicycle-related injuries, according to the federal Center for Disease Control.
Approximately 800 cyclists are killed and 60,000 are injured in motor vehicle-related crashes.
Lawmakers approved the cycling plate during the 2003 regular legislative session. After legislative approval, the bicycle coalition held a design competition, which attracted 30 entries from graphic designers who were also cyclists.
Coalition officials narrowed the entries to six and then allowed the public to decide by posting ballot boxes in bicycle shops and events. The Lance design by GTO Advertising of San Antonio won by an overwhelming majority.
Texans aren’t the only ones interested in the plates, Apple said. Some people are collecting them.
“We’ve had some calls from people in other states,” she said. “People want to buy them for their friends as gifts.”
Motorists can purchase specialty plates through their county tax assessor-collector’s office. For more information, go to the transportation department’s Web site at HYPERLINK http://www.txdot.state.tx.us www.txdot.state.tx.us or learn more about the cycling plate at HYPERLINK https://www.biketexas.org www.biketexas.org.
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