Q: What are the three most important takeaways for you from the time you spent on the ROW and the time at The National Bike Summit? – K. Begg
These inexpensive memberships give us a voice and strength in numbers. Small groups of people can do amazing things, but to be heard on the National level, we need to band as a unified voice. In DC, it was amazing to see the work that was being done by so many people with the same goal. Joining also directly leads to step #2.
2. Educate yourself on cycling / pedestrian issues and Federal / local policies. It doesn’t take much time at all and it’s not as dry and boring as you’d think. If we just naively go riding without ever appreciating how our trails and bike paths got there, then we are missing an essential piece of the puzzle. We can’t fight for it if we don’t know what the issues are. IMBA and League of American Bicyclists make it easy to learn about cycling advocacy issues. Not everyone has to go lobby on Capitol Hill but we do have a responsibility to be considerate users and know the etiquette and issues.
4. Talk about advocacy in your local community. At the bike summit, I learned that racers (all levels) are the highest user groups of our roads and trails, but the smallest group represented when it comes to advocacy. The bike commuters are there in huge numbers, but the race community is poorly represented. I know it’s not because the race community doesn’t care, it just hasn’t been made a focus or been talked about enough in the racing world. So start talking to your riding friends. Ask them if they’ve joined the local IMBA club. Strike up the conversation at races about the “three foot rule” for bikes on the road. Be the person in your community who starts a little wave of awareness and involvement will sprout from there.