Karl Rohde no longer on BTA staff

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
National Bike Summit - Day three-7

Karl Rohde at the National Bike
Summit back in March.
(Photos © J. Maus)

Karl Rohde is no longer on the staff of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA). Rohde was the BTA’s Government Relations and Public Affairs Director.

Late this afternoon I received several phone calls and emails about the news after Rohde sent out an email to colleagues announcing his departure. I was later able to confirm it with Rohde himself.

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BTA: Media fallout has put Idaho Stop effort in jeopardy

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
salmon street stop sign

(Photo © J. Maus)

Karl Rohde, the BTA lobbyist who is working on a bill in Salem that would allow bicycles to treat stop signs as yields (known as the “Idaho Stop law”), tells us that the fate of the bill hangs in the balance. (The bill received its first committee hearing yesterday).

According to Rohde — who called me from Salem with this update — several legislators have informed him that HB 2690 is in jeopardy because their constituents are expressing opposition to the bill after several negative and/or inaccurate news reports have come out since yesterday. Those media stories have stoked a wave of concerned calls and emails to legislator’s offices.

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A small victory in the war of perception

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

The BTA’s Government Affairs Director Karl Rohde and I have something in common; we can’t stand the outdated perception (held by all too many legislators and decision makers) that bikes are simply a means of recreation and that funding bike infrastructure is some sort of frivolous, non-essential expenditure.

Mr. Rohde is on a crusade of sorts to rid politicians of that notion. Part of the legislative package he’ll fight for in Salem next session will be a resolution that tries to re-frame “bike funding” and “bike trails” as “non-motorized transportation funding” and “non-motorized transportation corridors” respectively.

Another front in his campaign is simple propaganda.

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