Summit Countdown #5: Don’t Let the Bad Guys Win
Let’s face it, the transportation bill passed by Congress in 2012 wasn’t the best for bicycling.
The bill basically took away all guaranteed funding for bike projects – leaving a lot to the discretion of state Departments of Transportation, who haven’t always been our greatest allies! We’re doing all we can, through the Advocacy Advance program, to limit the potential damage caused by MAP-21 and work with the new bill, yet there’s no question it’s tougher than it was under the previous law.
But I think there’s an even worse disaster ahead if we let certain members of Congress think they won, and that the bicycle community is running away with its tail between its legs. At the 2013 National Bike Summit, we have show them we’re not going anywhere. Not only do we have to show that we’re able to take our lumps and deal with the new bill, but we have to make it abundantly clear that we’re in this for the long haul: that Bicyclists Mean Business!
We know that MAP-21 could have been a whole lot worse. If leadership in the House of Representatives had gotten its way, there would be ZERO funding for bikes — we wouldn’t even be an eligible activity for funding. If we walk away from Congress now, we’re handing those opponents the victory they wanted – but couldn’t get – last year.
On the other hand, if we show up undaunted and ready to fight, that’s going to leave the impression that we really do mean business, in every sense of the word. If we can show in our meetings that great things happen when we invest more bicycle-friendly communities, and that great opportunities are being missed because of the new law, that will make a powerful impact. And we need YOU to be here in Washington DC to make that statement and to tell those stories.
So join us at the National Bike Summit, March 4-6. We need your voice. We need your voice to inform and educate a lot of new members of Congress and a lot of new staff up on the Hill. And we need your voice to say, loud and clear, that we’re still here. The bicycle community is not rolling over or defeated. We are back and we’re stronger, wiser and more determined than ever.
That only works if you show up.