Cycling advocates from across the country are convening in Washington, DC this week to discuss the future of cycling in America, and to voice their support for national cycling and pedestrian programs. Two years ago, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood made an immediate impression on cycling advocates when he climbed up on a table at the 2010 National Bike Summit and commended them for their hard work. LaHood hasn’t jumped on any tables at this year’s summit, but he conveyed a similar sense of urgency when addressing the record crowd at the annual event in the nation’s capital.
Last month, a transportation bill that would have slashed cycling funding stalled in the House, thanks in part to outrage and pressure from bike advocates. “They want to pick on bike funding as an issue in which they’re going to draw a line in the sand,” League of American Bicyclists Andy Clarke told the Washington Post. “We think it’s perverse and we’re not sure why we are in the crosshairs, but we are and we’re responding in kind.”
Just last week, the Senate approved a $109-billion transportation bill that would protect funding for bike and pedestrian programs. Wearing a bright yellow bicycle on his lapel, LaHood stood behind a lectern at the National Bike Summit and encouraged cycling advocates to reach out to their congressmen to convince them to pass the Senate transportation bill. “Ride up there and tell them to pass the bill,” he said according to BikePortland.org. “If you do that you’ll be doing a good thing for America!” Time is running out for Congress to act, though; the latest the extension of the 2005 transportation bill is set to expire on March 31.