English editor of German magazine interviews US Secretary of Transport

Cyclingmobility is a bright, glossy, progressive cycle advocacy magazine that can influence politicians, says the editor.
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Cyclingmobility is only two issues old but has lofty ambitions to be a magazine that changes perceptions about cycling, especially among the powers-that-be.

The subscription-only title is packed with high-quality editorial and good pix; issue two had a shiny foil graphic on the cover, an expensive piece of print eye-candy. Issue three is due out soon, issue four lands in December, and issue five - due in March - is dedicated to cycling conditions in the USA.

With even car-choked Los Angeles becoming more bicycle friendly (the mayor recently helped pass a law to make it a specific offence to harass cyclists, and there are plans for miles and miles of protected bike lanes), the editor of Cyclingmobility wanted to see the US transformation at first hand. Ross Ringham said the resurgence in interest in cycling as transportation in America can be likened to the Arab spring: a revolution rippling outwards.

Ringham interviewed the US Secretary of Transport Ray LaHood and Earl Blumenauer, a noted pro-bicycle Congressman.

Both politicians denied that support for cycling is a simply matter of political persuasion. LaHood stated that once the new Surface Transportation Act is passed, cycling will be given an even better platform in the US.

“This isn’t like the oil crisis in the 1970s,” said Blumenauer. “Oil will get rarer, dirtier and more expensive. Even if oil prices drop for some reason, gas prices won’t. We’ve seen the end of cheap gas.”

Both Blumenauer and LaHood were clear that, while support for cycling at federal level is important, it is citizen pressure at the grassroots level which yields the most productive results. LaHood believes that federal support for alternative transport, including cycling, has been very strong under President Obama, and can be evidenced in the number of innovative approaches US cities are taking. US cities will be world-leading cities when it comes to alternative transport, said LaHood.

Blumenauer pulled no punches when identifying why it has taken so long to get the country to its current tipping point. “The states are the weak point,” he said. 

“It is local advocacy that bridges the gap. Citizen pressure is a very powerful tool.”

The interviews with the politicos - and organisations such as Bikes Belong, the League of American Bicyclists and the Alliance for Biking and Walking - will be published in full in the March 2012 issue of Cyclingmobility, which will be featured at the National Bike Summit in Washington DC.

Ringham said Cyclingmobility aims to "influence policy makers, to help them see cycling for transport as a viable option for today's cities."

He added: "We also want to enable the professionals, those working in planning and transport roles at city and regional levels to think outside of auto-only planning."

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