MONTEREY, CA (BRAIN)—To make sense of federal legislation and learn what you can do to help ensure funds are set aside for cycling projects, plan to attend the Bicycle Leadership Conference next month.
Tim Blumenthal, executive director of Bikes Belong, and a panel of national advocacy leaders will demystify the process and the potential for pending pieces of federal legislation. Discussions will address what the industry needs to do to make sure these bills are bicycling friendly, and how to make sure that states spend the allocated money on bicycling.
Panelists will include Andy Clarke, president of the League of American Bicyclists, Jeff Miller, CEO of the Alliance for Bicycling and Walking, and Caron Whitaker, campaign director for America Bikes.
“This is the biggest year ever for federal legislation for bicycling,” said Blumenthal. “The next two bills, climate change and the multi-year transportation bill, should be the biggest stimulus for bicycling in the U.S. This is the year. The money that’s going to be set aside if we play our cards right is going to be more than $10 billion over five years. The potential is huge in terms of facilities, policy and kids.”
Blumenthal will moderate a second panel discussion exploring the North American potential of bike-sharing systems in cities, big and small, and on college and business campuses. European success stories will be analyzed. Questions addressed will include: Will bike-sharing systems work in the U.S.? How will programs be funded? What are the liability concerns? Will Americans in business attire actually saddle up? What will bike sharing mean to the U.S. bike business?
Blumenthal said the goal of the panel is to bring the industry up to speed on what’s happening with bike sharing programs in big U.S. cities and to brainstorm ideas to get these programs going.
“The unfolding has happened a lot slower than we imagined,” Blumenthal said. “The good news is there’s money in the economic stimulus plan through urban economic efficiency grants. It looks like several cites are going to apply for bike sharing systems,” he added, citing Montreal, Denver and Minneapolis.
For more information about the Bicycle Leadership Conference and to register for the April 15-17 conference, held in conjunction with the Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, California, click on link. Full descriptions of the panels and other events, including the annual BRAINy Awards, bike rides and networking events, are listed on the Web site under '09 Agenda.