Attending the National Bike Summit can make a difference in your community
Attending the National Bike Summit can make a difference in your community. Here’s how it did in mine:
A few years ago during the Summit, I met with my Congressional Representative at the time, Marilyn Musgrave. I invited her to a school back home that had a Safe Routes to School program in place. Doing so would enable her to see how federal transportation dollars were being used at the local level.
Previous to her visit, the Congresswoman had refused to join the Congressional Bike Caucus and had not been a supporter of legislation that was going to divert transportation tax dollars from road construction or repair.
Buzz Feldman (in bike jersey) with Congresswoman Marilyn Musgraves, bike winners, and Tom Cobb, who donated one of the two bikes that were given away.
On the day that she chose to visit Columbine Elementary School in Longmont, Colorado, no special effort was made by the school to encourage increased participation in their Safe Routes to School program. The Congresswoman stood on one of the sidewalks use by students as they enter the campus. Her job was to give each student who walked or biked a recognition sticker that read, “I walked to School” or “I biked to school”. On that special day, out of 417 students at the school, only 12 arrived by car. The remainder all either walked or biked to school. No youngsters are bused to Columbine. Congresswoman Musgrave was amazed at the level of participation and the lack of traffic around the school! It was an eye opening experience for her.
While at the school, the Congresswoman had the fun of picking two winners of new bicycles from raffle tickets the students had earned throughout the school year for walking or biking. (See accompanying photo.)
Upon her return to her office in D.C., Congresswoman Musgrave immediately joined the Congressional Bike Caucus and became an ardent supporter of Safe Routes to School and other initiatives that encourage people to walk or bike more.
Guest blogger Buzz Feldman is League Cycling Instructor #1316 and a founding member of Bicycle Longmont in Longmont, Colorado. He’s currently the Coordinator for Safe Routes to School in St. Vrain Valley School District and serves on Longmont’s Transportation Advisory Board. He’s the former owner of High Gear Cyclery in Longmont.