The League of American Bicyclists host the annual National Bike Summit. In it's 20th year, this year's summit will be hosted in Arlington, VA and Washington, D.C. The National Bike Summit is the premier bike advocacy event of the year, uniting the voices of bicyclists on Capitol Hill and showcasing successes on the ground, learning how they happen, and exploring ways to expand their reach.
MassBike attends each year acting as the state coordinator for the Massachusetts delegation. In addition to the learning opportunities at the summit with panels and speakers, attendees also participate in lobby day, where the delegation visits Senators and Representatives from their home state to make legislative asks on behalf of the League. It's also an opportunity for constituents to address local issues that they face at home in their district.
Join us at the 2019 National Bike Summit! We'd love to see you there. Click here for more information and to register.
What are we asking Congress for on lobby day?
Bike Commuter Benefit Act
The Bicycle Commuter Benefit Act of 2019 extends commuter benefits to employees who choose to bike to work, similar to parking or transit benefits. The bill improves on the former bike commuter benefit originally passed in 2009, and suspended in the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2018.
In 2017 the U.S. Department of Transportation released performance measures requiring states to set congestion mitigation and air quality goals for shifting transportation trips away from single occupancy motor vehicles. Offering incentives for employees to bike to work some or all of the time will help states meet these goals.
The Commute Act
The COMMUTE Act creates a pilot project to supply states and local governments with access data to help better plan transportation networks and connect residents with every day destinations- such as jobs schools, health care and grocery stores.
The basic function of our transportation system is to connect people to destinations. We need a better way to measure how well our system does this– for all modes and all people. Where funding for transportation is limited, this data provides information about all the trips people take- not just their commute to work. That will improve our planning process, and ensure we build communities and transportation systems that work for everyone.
Improving Transportation Alternatives
The original Transportation Alternatives program was predicated on the idea that local governments should have decision-making power over a small amount of federal transportation funding for local transportation priorities, such as bikeways and sidewalks. The changes listed below will make the program easier for local governments to access, and for states to implement.
- Ensure fair increases of Transportation Alternatives funds
- Improve project applications
- Give states flexibility
- Increase local control
Improving Bicyclist and Pedestrian Safety
Today, nearly 1 in 5 people who die in traffic crashes are pedestrians and bicyclists. Both the number of vulnerable road user fatalities and the percentage of overall roadway fatalities who are pedestrians and bicyclists continue to rise.
Even as that number increases, states spend less than 1 percent of their Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) on vulnerable road user safety. We believe this needs to change.
Congress should create a special rule for HSIP that ensures that data-driven decisions lead to funding for vulnerable user safety where aggregate data suggests there is a safety need.
Now we need a special rule for vulnerable road users within HSIP which states that if a metropolitan area, rural planning area or tribal land has a vulnerable road user fatality rate higher than 1.5 persons per 100,000 population for two years or more, then the state must use some of its HSIP funding to prevent vulnerable road user fatalities in that area.
This would provide an incentive to states to ensure that their data-driven methods capture vulnerable road user fatalities and that they work with local governments to make improvements where vulnerable road user fatalities are common.
Looking for even more info on these federal bills, including an overview from the Bike League? Check out more information and their webinar on all of the above here.
Want an even deeper dive into more information from the Bike League? Download the 2018 Benchmarking Report.