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Heard on the Hill: the bike movement has “hit the political mainstream”

Posted by on July 30th, 2008 at 10:17 am

Today’s edition of Roll Call, a newspaper that has covered Capitol Hill for over half a century, makes it official; bikes are now on the radar of our nation’s lawmakers like never before.

In the “Heard on the Hill” column, the paper writes that,

“…after years of dogged dedication to the pro-bicycle cause, it appears the Oregon Democrat [Earl Blumenauer] can finally take a victory lap, because the movement has hit the political mainstream.”

The story comes out on the same day Blumenauer is holding a press event on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol to announce that attendees of the upcoming Republican and Democratic national conventions will have access to 1,000 free bikes. Along with the bikes — which will be supplied through a partnership with Humana Inc. and the non-profit group Bikes Belong — Blumenauer and several colleagues (from both sides of the aisle) have issued a “bike-sharing challenge” to convention goers.

A photo from this morning’s event on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. From R to L: Zach Wamp (R-TN), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), James Oberstar (D-MN), Tom Petri (R-WI), Tim Blumenthal (Bikes Belong), Heidi Margulis (Humana Inc.).
(Photo courtesy Earl Blumenauer’s office.)

The challenge? Take 10,000 trips and ride 25,000 miles on the free bikes.

One person involved with the program told Roll Call that, “I think it goes back to whether you’re red or blue, you’re green.”

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

16 Comments
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    K'Tesh July 30, 2008 at 10:45 am

    So, if all this is so pro bike, then why in a Tigard City Council meeting 7/29/8 was the mayor talking about eliminating the bike lanes from 99W?

    You get rid of bike lanes, you force cyclists onto area where they are not as visible and their actions are less predictable… You also increase bike/ped conflicts…

    Tigard needs a Bike Advisory Committee…

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    Sodapop Johnson July 30, 2008 at 10:53 am

    \”…because the movement has hit the political mainstream.\”

    Meanwhile, the rest of us continue to struggle for acceptance and a place on the road.

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    Peter W July 30, 2008 at 11:08 am

    The bike lobby may finally be on the radar, but it is only a blip currently; it is a row boat on the radar screen compared to the aircraft carriers that are the oil and automobile lobbies.

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    Jonathan Maus (Editor) July 30, 2008 at 11:11 am

    The bike lobby may finally be on the radar, but it is only a blip currently;

    that might be true in reality… but you are what you think you are.

    this is a key moment for the U.S. bike movement and it\’s a time to act accordingly.

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    Lazlo July 30, 2008 at 11:43 am

    This is good news, stop being so negative. Things are so much better now for cycling than they were 35 years ago when I really started riding in Portland. I\’m grateful to have people like Earl Blumenauer, Jonathan, and the BTA working on our behalf. Thanks to all of you.

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    peejay July 30, 2008 at 11:56 am

    Jonathan, can you do a little digging on the Tigard story? If true, that\’s kinda scary.

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    bahueh July 30, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    why is it scary? do you actually WANT to ride on 99W? I wouldn\’t be caught dead there…due to the fact that if I rode there, I might well become that way. Sorry, bike lanes won\’t change the suburbian car culture…the suburbs were DERIVED from the car culture and cheap gas….sadly.

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    John Russell July 30, 2008 at 1:05 pm

    I too would be interested in hearing a little more about that Tigard bit. I may live in Vancouver, but that doesn\’t mean I don\’t use 99W.

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    Pete July 30, 2008 at 1:43 pm

    bahueh, maybe a better question is do you NEED to use 99W?

    I pedaled Fanno Creek to Max\’s in Tigard last night but got a car ride back to Beaverton and was observing the riders on 99W. There are \”Bikes on Road\” signs in places where the lanes just go away but it seems people ride inside of Jersey barriers on tiny strips of hillside dirt. I suspect Tigard is thinking if they do away with the lanes they won\’t need to tackle the cost of connecting those lapses in coverage or dealing with the liability of someone falling down those steep hillsides. Just speculation, mind you.

    It\’d be nice to change the suburban car culture (maybe this kind of politics will help), but until then we still have to ride amongst it! 🙂

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    KT July 30, 2008 at 1:56 pm

    I live in Tigard, and I\’ve pedaled Hwy 99W.

    I\’ve also pedaled through the Fanno Creek Greenway trail.

    As a woman cycling alone, guess where I feel safer?

    If you guessed Hwy 99W, you are correct.

    I have no problems taking the lane if I need to, and if that means I have to take an entire lane on hwy 99W, then I will.

    I\’d also like to hear more about the Tigard bit. JMaus?

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    K'Tesh July 30, 2008 at 1:56 pm

    bahueh,

    What we need is more options, not less…

    I use this route regularly to get to my mother\’s house, and putting me on all side streets. 99W is flatter, straighter, and with the existing bike lanes, I feel safer… also, it gets swept more often…

    Also meet Bill, the 1971 Oregon Bike Bill:

    ORS 366.514, aka the bike bill, was passed by the Oregon Legislature in 1971. It requires the inclusion of facilities for pedestrians and bicyclists wherever a road, street or highway is built or rebuilt. It applies to ODOT, cities and counties. It also requires ODOT, cities and counties to spend reasonable amounts of their share of the state highway fund on facilities for pedestrians and bicyclists. These facilities must be located within the right-of-way of public roads, streets or highways open to motor vehicle traffic. The funds cannot be spent on trails in parks or other areas outside of a road, street or highway right-of-way.

    You can read more at:
    http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/BIKEPED/bike_bill.shtml

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    K\'Tesh July 30, 2008 at 2:04 pm

    I use this route regularly to get to my mother\’s house, and putting me on all side streets… (was interrupted, didn\’t finish the thought)

    ,and putting me on all side streets isn\’t going to work. 99W is flatter, straighter, and with the existing bike lanes, I feel safer… also, it gets swept more often…

    You can now return to your regularly schedualed program…

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    K'Tesh July 30, 2008 at 2:09 pm

    Damnned interruptions

    I use this route regularly to get to my mother\’s house, and putting me on all side streets doesnt\’ work for me . 99W is flatter, straighter, and with the existing bike lanes, I feel safer… also, it gets swept more often…

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    K'Tesh July 30, 2008 at 2:13 pm

    Sorry about that, this computer keeps inserting // in my name, making me thing that it didn\’t post…

    On with the show.

    More info about yesterday\’s Tigard City Council meeting can be read on the forums…

    http://bikeportland.org/forum/showthread.php?t=1520

    If you ride in Tigard, it behooves you to attend the meetings once in a while.

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    Matt Picio July 30, 2008 at 3:34 pm

    I don\’t live anywhere near Tigard, but I\’ve ridden that stretch of 99W. It\’s about having options – and while we could take the lane, I\’d wager that this is one of the cases where a bike lane *is* safer.

    In any case, it\’s not up to the mayor nor the city council – it\’s an ODOT road, and only ODOT has a say. While the city can influence the decision, the pressure to retain the bike lanes needs to be applied to ODOT.

    Not to say that Tigard\’s citizens shouldn\’t educate the mayor and council – one should always let local government know your opinion, it\’s the easiest bureaucracy to influence.

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  • […] from BikePortland: Senate Committee, McCain(?), will vote on National Bike Bill this week Heard on the Hill: the bike movement has “hit the political mainstream” Mainstream means you get the same boring photo ops as everyone else. At least Blumenauer stands out […]

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