The League of American Bicyclists’ National Bike Summit starts today in Washington D.C and lasts until Thursday.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, blogging in advance of his opening presentation at the Summit, said:
"We are very fortunate that, in these hard economic times, the President knows the economic importance of investing in transportation."
LaHood has been very supportive of cycling in recent times. Last year he said:
"I want to announce a sea change. People across America who value bicycling should have a voice when it comes to transportation planning. This is the end of favoring motorized transportation at the expense of non-motorized.
"We are integrating the needs of bicyclists in federally-funded road projects. We are discouraging transportation investments that negatively affect cyclists and pedestrians. And we are encouraging investments that go beyond the minimum requirements and provide facilities for bicyclists and pedestrians of all ages and abilities."
However, with Democrats now having had their wing clipped by a Congress more dominated by Republicans, such pro-bicycle measures are now seen as less likely to happen, and this is the economic and political backdrop to the National Bike Summit.
Gains made by bicycling bravehearts such as Janette Sadik-Khan, commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation, are being negated by rich NIMBYs such as the well-connected Brooklyn motorists who yesterday launched a law suit to remove a bike lane in their neighbourhood.
Sadik-Khan – a prominent NYC gossip columnist calls her the “wacko nutso bike commissioner” – will give a talk at the Summit.
League of American Bicyclists’ president Andy Clarke said: "More than 700 cycling advocates, supporters and industry executives are coming to Washington D.C. to emphasise the importance of bicycling to new and current members of Congress. Bicycling offers an excellent return on Federal investment, in terms of jobs, economic growth, and a healthier America."
Pro-cycling Democratic congressman Earl Blumenauer said:
"Summit attendees will be reminding their representatives about the direct value of enhancements, safe routes, recreational trails and other Federally-funded projects."
He will give the Summit’s opening plenary, ‘Acting on a Simple Solution’. Blumenauer has been instrumental in the Bike Summit’s 11 year history and the advancement of bicycling on the US transportation and health agenda.
"I’m thrilled to see how many people are coming out for the National Bike Summit this year. The level of interest in this event is representative of the level of interest in cycling across the country, as people look for commonsense, low-cost solutions to the obesity crisis, shrinking state and local budgets, increased congestion and worsening pollution," said Blumenauer.
The League of American Bicyclists is the US equivalent of the CTC. It has 300,000 members. Founded in 1880 as the League of American Wheelmen, LAW created the ‘Good Roads’ movement, a lobby group which helped pave America long before the automobile came on the scene.