Bikes Belong is the U.S. bicycle industry's voice in Washington, D.C.
To increase federal support for bicycling and the visibility of the bicycling industry, we meet regularly with Members of Congress and the Administration. We tout the significant societal and economic benefits of bicycling and promote legislation and federal policies that support better bicycling infrastructure. In addition, we retain a lobbying firm—TCH Group—to help craft messages and build stronger relationships with key U.S. Senators and Representatives.
Our Washington, DC, clout grows each year. Over the years, Bikes
Belong has successfully worked on promoting enactment of the bipartisan Bicycle Commuter Benefits Act,
ensuring the sale of children’s bikes by fixing a lead limit provision
in the Consumer Product Safety Information Act, and defeating several
Senate amendments that would have diverted funds for bike paths to other
Bikes Belong’s coordinated lobbying efforts have helped increase annual federal spending on bicycle facilities from a mere $2 million to $1 billion in 2010. In the previous federal transportation law (SAFETEA-LU), we gained $4.5 billion for bicycling and walking. Fiscal year 2009 bike project funding reached a new high, with $1.4 billion directed towards bicycling, twice as much as 2008. Most of this investment was secured through our lobbying efforts on the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act.
We’re making sure leaders on Capitol Hill recognize the bike industry as an important employer and see bike funding as a solid investment with health, community, congestion reduction, and air quality benefits.
Federal investments in safer and more reliable bicycling infrastructure benefits all Americans
Bike infrastructure is low cost and extremely cost-effective. So much more than providing recreation, these bike facilities connect Americans to schools, business districts, and jobs. These investments make roads safer for all users and strengthen local economies, improve air quality, increase energy security, reduce traffic congestion, and combat problems such as childhood obesity.
The U.S. bicycle industry generates more than $6 billion in annual retail sales and sells between 15-20 million bicycles in in the U.S. each year. More than one million Americans work in bike or bike-related businesses, with a growing number of high-paid, professional jobs in design, engineering, management, and marketing. There are more than 4,000 independent bicycle retailers that are important small business employers on Main Streets throughout America.
MAP- 21 Federal Transportation Bill (2012)
The new federal law, known as MAP-21, consolidates the Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to School, and Recreational Trails Programs into a new Transportation Alternatives (TA) Program. The consolidated TA program has reduced funding by about 33% ($808.76 million for FY 2013). The battle to preserve critical federal funding for biking now moves to states and local communities, and we must make sure they do not redirect these funds for other uses. While the Transportation Alternatives (TA) program is smaller than its predecessors, TA and the larger, core transportation and safety programs still present significant opportunities for federal funding for biking. The goal is now to make sure that bicycling supporters become involved and make their voices heard in their state and local governments to make sure states fully fund, fully staff, and fully implement bike projects under MAP-21.
Bikes Belong is working with our advocacy partners to ensure that states and local governments continue the tremendous progress we have made for better bicycling and use every opportunity in the new law to make biking safer, more appealing, and more convenient.
Federal Complete Streets Policy
Many states and cities have recently adopted complete streets policies that require new road construction projects and major repairs to include sidewalks for pedestrians, and lanes or paths for bicycles. Bikes Belong supports the broad-based National Complete Streets Coalition, which is working to make this policy federal law.