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What we’re asking for on Capitol Hill today

Posted by on March 6th, 2013 at 9:36 am

Bike Summit Lobby Day-21

Chris Distefano (Rapha), Diane Chalmers (Chris King Precision Components) and Jamie Porter (Travel Oregon) are just few of the over 30 Oregonians braving the miserable weather on Capitol Hill today to lobby for bicycling.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

While threats of a major snowstorm have not materialized and the cold rain is pouring down outside, the power of bicycles is the topic of discussion right now in the hallways and around tables in the House and Senate office buildings on Capitol Hill. It’s lobby day at the National Bike Summit and that means bike advocates are making their official “asks” of members of Congress.

Lobby day consists of advocates from all 50 states holding scheduled meetings with electeds where a pre-selected set of “asks” will be put on the table. Each state team lays out a strategy and mixes in official asks from the League of American Bicyclists with their own localized priorities.

This year, the League has given us three official asks:

Coverage from Washington D.C.
made possible by:

1) Support a performance measure for bicycling and walking fatalities and injuries in MAP-21
The new transportation bill mandates that the US Department of Transportation lay out performance measures for traffic fatalities and injuries. Unfortunately, while the number of people killed in the traffic crashes in the U.S. is on the decline, the rate of people killed while biking and walking has not gone down as rapidly. And in fact, that number went up between 2010 and 2011, from 12% to 16% of all traffic fatalities. This performance measure would come with incentives for states and metropolitan planning agencies to reach the goals. The League is asking for a 50% reduction in biking and walking deaths by 2020. We are also asking each member to sign on to a “Dear Colleague” letter about safety performance measures that has been written by Congressmen Earl Blumenauer and Tom Petri. The letter highlights the issue and urges Reps. Blumenauer and Petri’s colleagues to pressure the USDOT to specifically include non-motorized transportation modes in the new performance measures.

Learn more about this issue on the League’s blog.

2) Support the nomination of Sally Jewell to as Interior Secretary.
Former REI CEO Sally Jewell’s nomination by President Obama has sent bicycling and outdoor advocates buzzing. She is seen as someone how can instill a strong sense of value in outdoor recreation within the Obama administration.

3) Visit communities to see what makes them bike friendly.
Each state advocacy team has been asked to select a project within their state and then invite their member of Congress to come out and see it in person. Amid the highly partisan and bruising political environment in D.C. these days, a non-controversial photo op highlighting a big success for bicycling can be a persuasive tool. District visits also help deepen the relationship and strengthens the lines of communication between advocates and their representatives.

Oregon has 33 people here advocating on behalf of our state. I’ll introduce you to them later today. We’ve got meetings scheduled with Senator Wyden and Representatives Peter DeFazio, Earl Blumenauer, Greg Walden, Kurt Schrader, and Suzanne Bonamici (our meeting with Sen. Jeff Merkley has been cancelled due to inclement weather.)

Stay tuned for reports, photos and updates from Capitol Hill

More coverage from the National Bike Summit here.

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  • dwainedibbly March 6, 2013 at 9:43 am

    Typo in the description of “Ask” #1. Should 2010 be something else? Or are we also asking for a DeLorean? 🙂

    Great reporting! Keep it coming!

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  • Matt March 6, 2013 at 10:17 am

    Please don’t get on board with the corporate-speak that makes “ask” a noun. It’s a verb. “Request” is the noun. Sorry. Huge pet peeve of mine. Otherwise great article and keep up the good work.

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    • Spiffy March 6, 2013 at 10:25 am

      I Googled “ask” and it’s already been nouned…

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    • q`Tzal March 6, 2013 at 2:08 pm

      Language: it is a fluid and messy thing, English even more so. As soon as someone establishes a set rule someone else makes it their job to break the same rule.
      If we don’t watch out be mixing Mandarin swear words in soon 🙂

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      • Matt March 6, 2013 at 9:23 pm

        Change when needed and useful is good. Change because I can’t think of the noun is bad.

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        • q`Tzal March 7, 2013 at 3:14 pm

          … is bad.”
          Don’t you mean double-not-good?

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          • Alan 1.0 March 9, 2013 at 10:35 am

            …badifies benefitness.

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  • Peter W March 6, 2013 at 10:36 am

    I think there is a missing strong tag somewhere.

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  • davemess March 6, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    Miserable weather? It looks to be the exact same in Portland!

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  • Carl March 6, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    “Each state advocacy team has been asked to select a project within their state…” What’s Oregon’s?

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    • rain bike March 7, 2013 at 8:08 am

      Good bike facilities on the CRC.

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  • CaptainKarma March 7, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    Why are none of the folks in the picture using the crosswalk?

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  • Mister Man March 9, 2013 at 10:17 am

    Yes, what bicycling needs is more overpriced specialty clothing.
    That’ll broaden the appeal to regular folks.

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