Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on January 8th, 2007 at 9:11 am
If you’re a bike geek, the November elections were like that Christmas when you got your very first new bike and you were brimming with excitement at the potential of good times that were sure to come. With so much bike-friendly mojo in Congress, it’s hard to not think bikes are headed for some serious political gains in the next few years.
One man who will play a major part in this is Eugene Congressman Peter DeFazio. I first met DeFazio at the National Bike Summit last year and then bumped into him again at the Oregon Bicycle Tourism Summit back in May.
In light of the upcoming National Bike Summit (March 14-16) in Washington D.C. I’ll be covering politics and politicians much more and to kick things off I thought I share some bits from an article I just came across in DeFazio’s hometown paper, The Register Guard (registration req’d, go here for login).
The article discusses how DeFazio might use his newfound power (he has been named head of a transportation subcommitee) to benefit bikes. Adding even more bike fire-power to the 110th Congress are perennial pedal-powered progressives Jim Oberstar (D-MN) and Portland’s own Earl Blumenauer (more on them later).
According to the Register Guard, DeFazio has already put some plans on the table:
“He plans to hold hearings on the recently passed Safe Routes for Schools bill to ensure that states properly direct federal dollars into roadway improvements so that children can pedal or walk to school without encountering traffic dangers.
DeFazio also wants to explore ways to improve rural highway safety for cyclists. He said recent cyclist deaths in his district have keened his interest in such improvements.
One idea…requires that when a rural route is resurfaced or rebuilt, its shoulders are widened and a rumble strip installed to warn motorists when their vehicles veer outside their lane.”
It’s still very early in the game, but even so,
“DeFazio said it was too early to start promising fixes for specific cycling hot spots in his district. But he said the change in leadership and in the way cycling is regarded in Congress makes the chance better than ever that such help could eventually be on its way.”
I can’t wait for March. All signs point to a very important and inspiring National Bike Summit. Will you be joining us?