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National Bike Summit 2009

Welcome to BikePortland.org’s special coverage of the 2009 National Bike Summit.

Read all the articles by clicking on the headlines below. You can also view our photo gallery here.

This coverage is sponsored by Planet Bike.


Scenes from the Summit

Posted on March 16th, 2009 at 9:13 am.

The 2009 National Bike Summit wrapped up on Friday. I’ll have my final thoughts and wrap-up in a separate post, but I thought I’d share a few select photos from my trip:

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My day on Capitol Hill with the Oregon Bike Advocacy All-Stars

Posted on March 13th, 2009 at 1:07 pm.

The Oregon Bike Advocacy All-Star Team posing with U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio on his balcony.
(Photos © J. Maus)

Oregonians, you should be proud. The team you sent to represent you in Washington is nothing short of an All-Star Team. And yesterday, I had the honor to accompany them for a full day of meetings with Oregon’s Congressional representatives on Capitol Hill.

National Bike Summit - Day three-14
Jerry Norquist (R) ran into his old
friend, legendary racer Ned Overend,
at the morning briefing.

The day started early with a warm-up reception held in the House Office Building. After getting our marching orders from League director Andy Clarke, Congressman Earl Blumenauer stepped up to the lectern. He told us about a budget meeting he was in last night with President Obama. According to Blumenauer staffer Tyler Frisbee (who I talked to later), Blumenauer had a few minutes to present to Obama.

As he began outlining his ideas on the importance of transportation, he mentioned funding challenges. At that point, according to Blumenauer, Obama piped up with, “You mean, there’s not enough money for bikes?!”. “The big guy’s on message,” Blumenauer said with a grin.

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Blumenauer legislation would bulk up and clear up bike commuter benefit

Posted on March 12th, 2009 at 12:52 pm.

National Bike Summit - Day three-10
Rep. Earl Blumenauer at
a reception this morning
on Capitol Hill.
(Photo © J. Maus)

When the Bike Commuter Benefit Act passed back in October, it was somewhat of a shallow victory for advocates who had pushed for its passage for seven long years. Not only did it pass as a ploy to build support for the controversial financial bailout bill, the “benefit” it provides is small ($20 per month compared to $230 for parking a car and $120 a month for taking transit), and the implementation has been the source of massive confusion to HR people across the country. Worse yet, the Bike Commuter Benefit Act included language that required bike riding employees to choose between the bike benefit or the transit benefit.

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What special interest lobbying is all about

Posted on March 12th, 2009 at 9:33 am.

National Bike Summit - Day two-57
Through this door to the
world of lobbying.
(Photos © J. Maus)

Last night I experienced an important part of how special interest lobbying works. At a classy restaurant just steps from Capitol Hill, I joined bike industry and advocacy leaders for a reception (and dinner, but I didn’t stay for that) hosted by BikesPAC.

BikesPAC is a political action committee founded by the non-profit Bikes Belong Foundation that raises money from donors and then spends the money on congressional campaigns of members that are supportive of biking. Each year during the National Bike Summit, BikesPAC hosts a reception and dinner and invites members of Congress to stop by. The idea is to share with them what the Bike Summit is all about, give thanks for their support of biking, and generally just try to strengthen the name of biking on Capitol Hill.

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Getting pumped on urban trails and bike parks

Posted on March 11th, 2009 at 8:40 pm.

This story is part of our special 2009 National Bike Summit coverage (sponsored by Planet Bike). For more coverage, follow BikePortland on Twitter and browse the latest photos in our Bike Summit photo gallery.


National Bike Summit - Day two-24
Rich Edwards is a trail solutions
coordinator with IMBA.
(Photos © J. Maus)

Most talk about biking in cities revolves around commuting to work and urban biking culture. But there’s another way to enjoy riding without leaving town that is just starting to get on the map in Portland — urban trails, jump parks, and pump tracks.

The topic is very hot in Portland right now. Our Gateway Green project is rolling along, and discussions are afoot for more bike access in Forest Park and possibly even our first pump track/skills park near the Burnside Bridge.

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With Complete Streets, Matsui says roads will be for everyone

Posted on March 11th, 2009 at 7:21 pm.

This story is part of our special 2009 National Bike Summit coverage (sponsored by Planet Bike). For more coverage, follow BikePortland on Twitter and browse the latest photos in our Bike Summit photo gallery.


National Bike Summit - Day two-14
Rep. Doris Matsui wants to slay
the evil, bloated, highway dragon.
(Photos © J. Maus)

With a commitment to focus on livable communities, and with active transportation advocates in key positions of power on Capitol Hill, this just might the year when a complete streets bill becomes the law of the land.

Spearheading the legislative effort is House Representative Doris Matsui (D-CA). Matsui addressed the National Bike Summit this morning to kick of the introduction of the Complete Streets Act of 2009 into the 111th Congress. (Matsui is one of the chief architects of the bill).

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Seeking a national legal standard to ensure traffic justice

Posted on March 11th, 2009 at 7:05 am.

National Bike Summit 09 - Day One-3
Rep. Jim Oberstar, speaking
at the opening night dinner.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Representative Jim Oberstar (D-MN) — the man whose passion for Safe Routes to Schools helped establish it as a national priority in America — is now throwing his energy behind a new idea. And, as Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee that will be writing the new transportation bill, Oberstar’s ideas have real potential to turn into policy.

Today at the National Bike Summit in Washington D.C., Oberstar will meet with the country’s top bike lawyers to discuss the potential of a new legislative initiative to draft the country’s first piece of legal policy that would directly relate to the respect and recognition of bicycles as users of our roadways.

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Sec. LaHood: “You have a full partner at the US DOT”

Posted on March 11th, 2009 at 5:42 am.

U.S. Secretary of Transportation
Ray LaHood addressed the National
Bike Summit this morning.
(Photos © J. Maus)

Ray LaHood, President Obama’s Transportation Secretary kicked off the opening plenary at the National Bike Summit this morning.

LaHood, sporting the ubiquitous bike pin, made it clear that he symbolizes a new era of cooperation between the U.S. Department of Transportation and bike and active transportation advocates around the country. As I reported last night, LaHood is focused on the idea of “livable communities”.

At the outset of his remarks, he said, “I want all of you to know you have a full partner at the US DOT in working toward livable communities”. A key theme of LaHood’s remarks was that he and President Obama will work hard help make communities nicer places to walk and bike. LaHood said that he and Obama, “Will work toward an America where bikes are recognized to coexist with other modes and to safely share our roads and bridges.”

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LaHood and the potential for livable communities

Posted on March 10th, 2009 at 8:36 pm.

We’ll hear from Transportation
Secretary Ray LaHood tomorrow
morning.

Tomorrow morning, President Obama’s Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood will address the 2009 National Bike Summit.

When LaHood was announced as Obama’s pick back in December, many in the bike movement didn’t really have much to say about him. He’s been a strong supporter of rail, but his background on bike issues wasn’t too deep.

Tomorrow, he’ll have his first chance to acquaint himself with America’s bike power brokers and, if a recent story in Congressional Quarterly is a reliable sign, LaHood is sure to win many fans.

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Summit starts with lessons from Copenhagen

Posted on March 10th, 2009 at 5:52 pm.

National Bike Summit 09 - Day One-73
Roger Geller (L) and the bike program
manager for the City of Copenhagen,
Andreas Rohl.
(Photos © J. Maus)

The 2009 National Bike Summit kicked off tonight with a pep rally of sorts, and the head cheerleader was Andreas Rohl, bike program manager for the city of Copenhagen.

For the uninitiated, Copenhagen is the world class cycling city all others aspire to. Don’t believe that claim? 36% of people who enter the city for work or for school do so on a bicycle and among people who live in their city’s core, 55% bike to work.

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