I noticed at the recent National Bike Summit in Washington that Bikes Belong was a Platinum sponsor. To contribute that much to a conference of 800+ attendees takes a lot of financial support. How does Bikes Belong get that clout? “We’ve been the Platinum sponsor for all ten years,” Tim replies. He then goes on to describe just how his organization gains the resources to make such commitments. There’s more: Safe Routes to Schools (SRTS) and grants for improving the riding experience, his foundation; he’s doing a lot to promote safe cycling.
But what about advocacy? “It’s a game of inches,” I offer, then Tim counters, “It’s a game of concise messaging.” He offers several cogent arguments for would-be advocates: “The most important advocacy is at the local level,” where economic development in the form of tourism and employment can persuade.
He funds Bike Friendly America at the League where cities can apply for Honorable Mention, Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum recognition. “This can foster competition between mayors,” I’ve heard this strategy before, Nicole suggested the same approach: begin the process of applying.
Fifty percent of all trips Americans make are 3 miles or shorter, and if we can change some of those trips to by-bicycle, all kinds of good things will follow.Tim Blumenthal
Never gonna take up bike riding? According to Tim you should still support spending on bicycle infrastructure, “because every dollar spent means one less car on the road, less congestion, easier parking, too.” Still not sold? Tim continues, “And because we’re taking better care of ourselves, you may not have to foot the bill, at the end of the day,” on our healthcare. “The good things that happen when people ride bikes is a long list, the list of bad things, that’s a very short list, so it’s a privilege to come to work every day.”