Bike Friendly Richardson

Recap – Cyclists In Suits – Texas Bicycle Lobby Day 2013

Posted in Advocacy, Bicycle Events, Bike Change by dickdavid on March 30, 2013
CyclistsInSuites_BikeTexas

Image ©BikeTexas.org – Please visit their site.

When I first heard about the BikeTexas event, Cyclists In Suits, my first thought was (like perhaps a Tweed Ride) this is a bike ride where folks dressed up and rode around the capital. I would soon discover that this was not a dapper critical mass, nor did it even involve getting on my bike. Cyclists In Suits was not an event to show state legislature that we can gather for a ride, but rather, we can gather and have a productive discussion about bicycle policy in Texas.

Cyclists In Suits is a biennial event held during the Texas Legislature’s regular sessions. It is great opportunity for Texas cyclists to share their love of cycling with their state legislators. The goal is to have cyclists from every legislative district in Texas visit the capitol with our staff and remind the legislature that we are voters and we want them to represent our cycling interests.

The next thing that ran through my head was, I’m not a lobbyist, nor am I a very political person. Why would I want to participate in this event? The answer is, I LOVE CYCLING, and I will do everything I can to make it better in Texas. The least I could do was add myself to the head count and show the Texas legislature that there are many constituents who care about cycling.

Our local advocacy group, BikeDFW, hosted a bus ride to Austin that day – which I joined. The trip involved departing from DFW at 5:00 am, arriving in Austin to participate in lobby activities, network with like-minded advocates from all over the state, then return that evening. It was a really long day.

Although the group on the bus was very diverse, ranging in gender, race and cycling style, I was hoping to have a better balance of  the different bike cultures. Perhaps, as cycling becomes more popular among the non-sports crowd, we’ll see more of that. Regardless of the balance of cyclist types, this group was fantastic. There’s something to be said about shedding the lycra, cleats, helmets and skinny jeans and seeing bicyclists unite for a common cause. On the bus, we weren’t ‘racers’, ‘roadies’, ‘commuters’, ‘critical mass-ers’, ‘fashionistas’ ‘VCs’ or ‘weekend riders’. We were, simply, cyclists.

When we got to Austin, we were greeted by the BikeTexas folks. They escorted us to the capital building and into a room they had reserved for the bicycle lobbyist. We were each given a couple of bags of bicycle lapel pins to hand out to anybody wanting to show support. We then got a quick tutorial on who we would be talking to and the best way to communicate to them. We also learned about the bills they were currently trying to push through, HB 2225 – Safe Passing (SB1515 – Safe Passing) and HB 1102 – Complete Streets (SB 565 – Complete Streets). There were more bills for cyclists, but the goal was to remain focused on these two for better impact with legislators – who meet with many different types of lobbyists, daily.

Cyclists In Suits March

Fresh Of The Bus, Heading To The Capital Building

After the briefing, we were split into smaller groups and given folders containing all the information about these bills. We were to go to our selected offices, introduce ourselves as constituents and pass on the folder that represented their district. The expectation was set that we most likely wouldn’t meet with the actual Senator or Representative, but rather their staff. That was the case for all of my group’s visits, and most of the staff that we encountered were very receptive and happy to meet with us.

Jay Dunn Gets It Done

Jay Helping Us Lobby

After our lunch break, the whole group met at the Senate Gallery for a Reading of Special Resolution. When that was finished, we were asked to take a moment, visit the Senator and Representative from our own districts and sign their visitor log books. For my part of Richardson, this was Representative Angie Chen Button and Senator Ken Paxton. You can click here to find yours.

Texas Senate Room

Texas Senate Session

Once we were finished lobbying, we all gathered on the steps of the capital building for a group picture, where we were joined by Texas Senator Rodney Ellis. It was nice to see such a large group representing Texas cyclists, but I wouldn’t mind seeing it get larger.

Group Break

Bike Pins Everywhere – Showing Support

Later that afternoon, we walked over to the BikeTexas headquarters for a group happy hour. Here we were able to meet and discuss the events of the day as well as the things we learned. It was nice to network with other cycling advocates from around the state.

Happy Hour

BikeTexas Happy Hour

Meet And Greet

BikeTexas HQ

We finished out the trip with the long bus ride back to Dallas. On the bus, I was able to reflect on what I learned that day. Here are a few:

– Cyclists in Suits is not a bike ride.
– Lobbying isn’t just for the politically minded. It’s for anybody who cares about a cause.
– Cycling policy affects all bicycle cultures. If you care, you should try to get involved.
– Texas Legislators are there to listen to their constituents. Talk to them.
– It costs a lot of money to hold these events and sponsor bus rides. If you like what is being done, you should join or support BikeDFW and BikeTexas.

Jay and Preston

Bicycle Networking

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Report from the 2012 Texas Trails & Active Transportation Conference

Posted in Advocacy, Bike Education by Adam on February 5, 2012

I spent the latter half of last week down in sunny (and humid!) San Antonio with hundreds of other cycling advocates, public officials, and planning and design professionals.  This conference is put on every other year by two state-wide organization—BikeTexas (a cycling advocacy organization that spends the odd years lobbying the state legislature) and the Texas Trails Network (an organization dedicated to the provision of linear trails for transportation and recreation uses). 

 As always, the conference was excellent.  Beyond the great job the two organizations do planning and running the event, the caliber of presenters and speakers is unparalleled, in my opinion.  Plenary speakers included John Burke, president of Trek Bicycle Co.; Texas State Senator Rodney Ellis, D-Houston; Congressman Jim Oberstar, D-Minnesota, and Keith Laughlin, president of the Rails to Trails Conservancy.  While each of the speakers was excellent, it was truly an honor to hear the speech from Jim Oberstar—the father of Safe Routes to School, the Transportation Enhancements program, and multi-modal funding in federal transportation bills.  Few people have had as great an impact on bicycling.

North Texas was well-represented at the conference both in terms of presenters speaking about the great strides we’re making in the Metroplex, as well as attendees there to learn what is happening across the state.  There were several presentations given that focused on bikes and pedestrians in North Texas:

  • Max Kallhammer (Dallas’ bicycle coordinator) spoke about Dallas’ new bike plan;
  • Michael Hellman and Jared White (from the Dallas Parks Department) presented Dallas’ new “Happy Trails” trail signage program;
  • Andrew Howard and Jason Roberts spoke about the success of their Better Block program (which we STILL need to bring to Richardson);
  • Deb Humphreys of NCTCOG discussed the development of a complete streets policy for North Texas; and
  • Yours truly presented Collin County’s new regional trail master plan.

In addition to those that presented, there were city employees and advocates from McKinney, Allen, Plano, Grapevine, Fort Worth, and others from Dallas (including three council members) in attendance.  And finally, Lewisville won an award for its recently-completed citywide Trails Master Plan.

But we didn’t just sit around for three days.  There were also SIXTEEN mobile sessions where participants could take a tour of the various bike routes, trails, and urban revitalization projects in San Antonio by biking, walking, running, or paddling—depending on the session.  This was truly an active conference!

All-in-all it was a great experience and I highly recommend EVERYONE connected to BFR attend the next conference, which is scheduled for 2014 and might happen right here in North Texas!

– Adam Wood

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Coming February 1-3, 2012 – Texas Trails and Active Transportation Conference

Posted in Advocacy, Bicycle Events, Bike Change, Bike Education by dickdavid on December 6, 2011

Bike Texas

We met some of the Bike Texas folks at BFOC‘s Bicycle Fair last October and they were promoting an event that they helped organize in San Antonio next year. It’s the biennial Texas Trails and Active Transportation Conference, aka the Texas Bike/Ped Summit.

Here is the info from their site:

Register Now! The biennial Texas Trails and Active Transportation Conference, aka the Texas Bike/Ped Summit, is coming up fast!  Engineers, planners, advocates and anyone interested in active transportation is invited to join us in San Antonio February 1-3, 2012, at El Tropicano hotel downtown on the Riverwalk.

Organized by BikeTexas and the Texas Trails Network, we have the strongest line up of Keynote Speakers in our history.

  • Former congressman Jim Oberstar, a true champion for bicycles over his 36 years in the U.S. Congress  
  • The renowned Danish architect and urban design consultant Jan Gehl, who prioritizes bicyclists and pedestrians in his designs  
  • John Burke, President of Trek Bicycles and life long dedicated bike advocate
  • Senator Rodney Ellis, Houston, a cyclist, and a friend of all Texas cyclists

This conference has something for everyone: Bike/Ped Coordinators, Advocates, Cycling Enthusiasts, Trail Builders/Advocates, Safe Routes to School Coordinators, Traffic Engineers, Public, and Private partnerships, Urban Planners, Teachers, and more.  Earn education credits!  For more details, click here to check out the conference website for daily updates, and “like” the conference Facebook page.

The full registration price is $350 and includes all meals and access to dozens of on- and off-site workshops, breakout sessions, and keynote speakers – everything you need to recharge your batteries and be inspired to make Texas a great place for trails and active transportation. I’d really like to make it out to this conference just to get a glimpse into what’s happening for cycling in Texas. I just hope that I can get the time.

Dallas Bikes To City Hall – October 15, 2010

Posted in Advocacy, Bicycle Events by dickdavid on September 29, 2010

Image From Bike Friendly Oak Cliff

As part of Bike Friendly Oak Cliff’s Cyclesomatic 2010, cyclists are promoting bike advocacy with another Dallas Bike To City Hall ride.

We hope to make it out to this one to support our neighbors and get a look at the Dallas Bikeway System Draft Network.

Date: October 15, 2010
Time: 8:10 am
Place: Union Station

BFOC’s Jason Roberts In The Latest Issue Of Bicycle Times

Posted in Advocacy, Bike Friendly by dickdavid on August 29, 2010

I was flipping through my new issue of Bicycle Times Magazine and ran across an interesting article about advocacy, written by Bruce Ebert. The article talks about some of the efforts for change in automobile heavy, suburban sprawl type cities like Dallas. Bike Friendly Oak Cliff gets mentioned and Jason Roberts gets quoted. I won’t go too deeply into the article, but it was nice to read about how the efforts of local cyclists are getting recognized in a national magazine. Way to go, BFOC!

People For Bikes

Posted in Advocacy by dickdavid on April 18, 2010

Our friends over at pedallas posted about a cool little site called People For Bikes. They’re dedicated to channeling that passion to improve the future of bicycling. They’re also trying to gather a million names of support, to speak with one, powerful voice—to make bicycling safer, more convenient and appealing for everyone.

Sounds like a good cause, and there has got to be a million cyclists out there. Be counted – head on over there and sign their pledge.

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Welcome Bike Friendly Knox-Henderson

Posted in Bike Friendly by dickdavid on January 29, 2010

We have some great news in the DFW area. Like us, another north Texas neighborhood has joined the ranks of local bicycle advocacy, which was re-vitalized by Bike Friendly Oak Cliff. Although they haven’t officially launched, we now have Bike Friendly Knox-Henderson – adding to the Bike Friendly family which includes Bike Denton, us (as well as the recently discussed Bike Friendly Lakewood).

We love seeing more advocacy groups appearing in metroplex neighborhoods. We hope the momentum keeps going and that we can all work together to make Dallas a better place for riding.