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Minnesota Cycling Advocate Honored With Legislation

Last December, the League and bike advocates nationwide were saddened to hear about the passing of William (Bill) Dooley, a passionate and tireless advocate for cycling safety and active transportation in Minnesota. In recognition of his commitment to bettering bicycling, Minnesota State Legislators named House File 677 and Senate File 912 the Bill Dooley Bicycle Safety Act in his honor. The bill is under consideration in this year’s legislative session. We hope that with its passing, future generations will benefit from Dooley’s advocacy and service to improving transportation systems.

Like many in the active transportation movement, advocating for the benefit of people came naturally to Dooley. At age 55, he retired from his career as an insurance lobbyist and turned his attention, using those same professional skills, to advocating for healthy, active transportation alternatives. He basically never stopped hanging around the Minnesota State House; he just changed his focus to transportation improvements. 

Dooley was a long-time member of the Major Taylor Bike Club, a founder of The Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota and the Minneapolis Bicycle Advisory Committee, and Chair of the Twin Cities Shared Use Mobility Collaborative. Always on the lookout for news or trends in transportation, transit, urban planning or cycling, he was more widely known for keeping policymakers, advocates and local media informed, engaged and taking action on transportation legislation.. 

“Bill worked for years helping to plan, strategize, and make the case, in a bipartisan way, for policies and funding that would make biking and walking safer and more convenient,” said Dorian Grilley, executive director of the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota “Now there are very supportive chairs in the house and senate. It is a fitting tribute that the omnibus active transportation policy and funding bill is named the Bill Dooley Bicycle Safety Act.”  

The Bill Dooley Bicycle Safety Act Includes:

  • Requiring bike safety programs in public schools
  • Adding two bike routes to the State Bicycling Route Network
  • Adopting the “Idaho Stop” permitting cyclists to slow down rather than execute a complete stop at an intersection if it is safe to continue.
  • Specifically designating federal funds for non-motorized transportation, safe routes to schools and active transportation.

Bill Dooley died at age 73 from thyroid cancer on December 23, 2022. His legacy and ten years of service to the improvement of transportation systems will be felt by future generations for years to come.