Why are we in the bike business?
At Art’s Cyclery, we are passionate about selling bicycles because we know the positive influence that a bike can have in someone’s life, we’ve seen it first hand. A bicycle is not only a source of enjoyment for years and even decades on end but an important method of transportation, an easy way to improve overall fitness and health, and a possible solution to some of our most pressing environmental concerns. Every individual that wants to ride a bike should be able to do so on safe roads, trails and paths without fear of injury and without fear of persecution from other road users. Art’s Cyclery is determined to do whatever it takes to support our customers because we are cyclists just like you. By fighting for your right to ride, we are fighting for our own freedom as well. We work extremely hard to give you access to the best gear at the best price but we also want to do our part to improve the cycling community as a whole. A community that we are proud to be a part of.
How are we fighting for bikes?
In the past six years, some appalling trends have taken root within our nation. Bicycle and pedestrian related deaths are on the rise, from 12% of overall road deaths in 2008 to 17% in 2013 (League of American Cyclists). This is even more disheartening when you consider that funding for bicycle related infrastructure has declined in the last year as well. In 2013 the federal government signed into law the new transportation bill, MAP-21, which slashed guaranteed funding for biking and walking by more than 400 million dollars. Now, more than ever, it is pivotal that the cycling community fight to maximize future investment in biking and walking so that the growing number of cyclists on the road can ride in safety without fear of becoming part of this statistic.
Art’s Cyclery is attending the 2014 National Bike Summit, March 3rd through the 5th in Washington, D.C., because we believe wholeheartedly in this investment to increase the safety of our nation’s roads and the safety of our customers. The National Bike Summit joins together advocates, retail dealers, members of the bike industry and local officials to work towards a better, more bike friendly tomorrow. We, along with more than 700 others, will be speaking to members of congress and lobbying support for the important pieces of legislation below:
- Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Act: Requires the U.S. Department of Transportation to focus specifically on reducing fatalities for bicyclists and pedestrians, instead of just lumping them in with all road fatalities. “This bill states clearly that the lives of all roadway users are important — and creates accountability toward ending needless deaths” (League of American Cyclists).
- New Opportunities for Bicycle and Pedestrian Infrastructure Act: Allows communities to take advantage of low-cost financing for projects that make streets and sidewalks safer for all users and directs millions of dollars to specifically help low income communities. It can help communities create safe infrastructure to give commuters cheap and safe options (League of American Cyclists).
- Safe Streets Act: “Ensures that all streets are designed, planned and built with all users in mind. This bill will make streets safer for people driving cars, walking, biking and taking public transit” (League of American Cyclists).
How can you help?
- Ride your bike. Ride it safely and intelligently. More bikes on the road means increased levels of awareness from cars and increased safety for each cyclist.
- Get involved. Volunteer with your local bike coalition (like the San Luis Obispo Bike Coalition) or join another cycling group. If all else fails, start your own.
- Be informed. Check out the the League of American Cyclists for a wealth of information on bicycle related topics, including more resources on how to advocate for bikes.
- Speak up. Be vocal in your community. Talk with other cyclists, write letters and emails to your local representatives and speak up about the problems you see in your community and how you think they should be improved. In this day and age of social media, we all have a very powerful voice. We all can set the wheels of change in motion.
Keep an eye out for more Bike Summit related posts on the Art’s Cyclery blog all throughout next week! We will also be updating our Twitter and Instagram accounts with our real time progress at the Summit.
Rubber Side Down is a weekly column dedicated to the fledgling cyclist in all of us. Art’s Cyclery Web Content Editor Jerald Westendorf is not a professional cyclist, and doesn’t try to masquerade as one either, but he does love to ride bikes. Whether you are clipping in for the first time or counting down the days until your first race, read on, learn from his mistakes, and keep the rubber side down.