July 3, 2006
Attention League Members!
You are invited to attend the annual meeting of the League and the board of directors meeting that is scheduled as part of the Cycle Across Maryland event in Princess Anne, Md., July 13-16. And it's not too late to register for Cycle Across Maryland! Sign up now for a great weekend of rides on Maryland's Eastern Shore.
Funding Restored for Critical RTCA Program, For Now
A big “THANK YOU” to those of you who contacted your Congressional members to ask them to restore and increase funding for the Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance (RTCA) program. The Senate Interior Appropriations Committee voted on June 29 to approve the fiscal year 2007 Interior-Environment appropriations bill, and it includes level funding for RTCA—it did NOT include the $500,000 cut that was proposed by the President and approved by the House. The committee approved bill must now be passed by the full Senate and then it will go to a House-Senate conference committee. We will need to keep up with our advocacy, but today the news was as good as we could hope for. Thanks again to all of you for the great effort.
Omaha Companies Get Behind Bicycling
Almost 300 employees from 30 companies are currently vying for top spot in ACT!vate Omaha’s summer-long Bicycle Commuter Challenge. Employees from Mutual of Omaha, Union Pacific, Northrup Gruman and the local Chamber of Commerce are among the participants you can track as they compete for grand prizes from Trek Travel and local businesses. An informative newsletter helps inspire riders every two weeks.
BikeSmart in New Hampshire
Bicycle education for students in New Hampshire schools has been given a huge boost with the launch of NH BikeSmart, reports Roger Lohr. Funded by a major grant from the local Byrne Foundation, Lohr and the fledgling Bike-Walk Alliance of New Hampshire will deliver bicycle safety education and training to an estimated 15,000 elementary students each year. The grant is especially timely as the state legislature recently passed a helmet law for children under 16.
Ghostbikes Appear in Madison
As if by magic, 500 signs appeared all over Dane County, Wis., last week featuring a ghostly white bicycle and the www.ghostbikes.net website. By a spooky coincidence last week also saw the launch of a regional StreetShare Campaign run by the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin, the Safe Community Coalition of Madison, and Dane County. The program, funded through memorial donations for Jessica Bullen, is geared towards improving traffic safety in rural and urban areas where motorists and cyclists must share the road.
Florida Joins the “3ft Passing Law” States
Florida recently passed legislation (H.B. 7079) saying that “the driver of a vehicle overtaking a bicycle or other nonmotorized vehicle must pass the bicycle or other nonmotorized vehicle at a safe distance of not less than 3 feet between the vehicle and the bicycle or other nonmotorized vehicle.” Arizona, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wisconsin also have similar laws on their books.
Ohio Bicyclists Celebrate Better Bike Laws
The Ohio Bicycle Federation reports that the Governor of Ohio has now signed into law HB 389 which overhauls Ohio’s traffic code and brings it more into line with the Uniform Vehicle Code. In particular, the new legislation clarifies when bicyclists may ride away from the edge of the roadway.
Bicycle Commuter Benefits Boost in NJ and UK
The Bicycle Commuters Benefits Act continues to add supporters (now up to 8 cosponsors) in the US Senate and hope remains that the Senate Finance Committee will give the bill a hearing this summer (go to the League’s on-line advocacy center for the latest updates). Meanwhile, the New Jersey legislature is considering similar legislation at the state level (Assembly Bill 3076), and in researching how the commuter tax break might be administered we came across this interesting example from the UK.