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Ditch Your Car: Bike Programs on the Brink?

February 1st, 2012

The following is an urgent message from Jim Sayer, executive director of American Cycling Association.

“Today, the leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives is releasing its long-term federal transportation bill. Cycling groups expected the bill to be bad news for biking and walking, but we didn’t think it would reverse all progress made in this country in the past twenty years.

The House Transportation Committee will vote Thursday, February 2, on whether to approve this bill or amend it to include biking and walking programs. Find out if your Representative is on the committee by clicking here — and if he or she is, then take action right away.

Why the urgency? House leaders are pushing hard to completely cut bicycling and walking out of transportation. Lawmakers seem to have gone through federal law line-by-line to gut programs that make streets safer for cyclists and pedestrians. They haven’t done this to any other transportation sector. Among many terrible provisions, the House bill:

  • Destroys the major bike/walk funding program (Transportation Enhancements);
  • Repeals the Safe Routes to School program, which helps create safe ways for kids to walk and ride bicycles to school;
  • Allows states to build bridges without safe access for pedestrians and bicycles;
  • Eliminates bicycle and pedestrian coordinators in state DOTs; and
  • Strips language which ensures that rumble strips “do not adversely affect the safety or mobility of bicyclists, pedestrians, or the disabled.”

But there’s still a chance to save federal bike/walk programs. This week in the House Transportation Committee, Representative Tom Petri (R-WI) plans to offer an amendment to restore dedicated funding for key programs. Please click on the action alert to see if your Representative is on the committee — and if they are, contact them asap and ask them to support Mr. Petri’s amendment.

This is as urgent as it gets. Even if Mr. Petri’s amendment succeeds, there will be a long road ahead. But if we lose here, we risk losing decades of progress for a more bike-friendly America.

Please pass this along to all your local friends and contacts – particularly high-level contacts like mayors, school board members, and business leaders — and ask them to weigh in, too. Thanks so much for your quick action and we’ll keep you posted.

Photo from iStockPhoto.com.

Every Wednesday on Ditch Your Car we’ll be bringing you just another reason to spend more time on two wheels. Be it a photo, a statistic or an inspirational video, we want to keep reminding you about why riding is great!

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