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Colorado Goes to Washington! 2023 National Bike Summit

On March 26, the 2023 National Bike Summit hosted by the League of American Bicyclists kicked off in Washington, D.C. With the cherry blossoms peaking on the National Mall, hundreds of passionate bike advocates gathered together for workshops, group rides, networking and collective impact on the Hill with a coordinated lobby day.

Bicycle Colorado’s Sustainable Transportation Director, Rachel Hultin, attended in person along with an amazing delegation from Colorado including: Karl and Joan Stang (Bike COS / PaC-MAN), John Yeast (New Belgium Brewing), Martha Roskowski (Further Strategies), and Lucus Waitman (Youth delegate). Virtual attendees included Ash Lovell and Nick Aguilera (PeopleForBikes), Jalen Bazile (The Black Foxes) and MacKenzie Hardt (Hardt Family Cyclery).

Colorado’s success getting people on bikes was highlighted throughout the Summit including Rachel’s participation on the Coalitions for Bikes and Climate Panel, a session on Everything you wanted to know about Dever’s eBike rebate but were afraid to ask with Mike Salisbury (Office of Climate Action, Sustainability and Resiliency) and MacKenzie Hardt, and a trailer for The Black Foxes Film

The Summit sessions and keynote speakers covered a huge range of topics from Re-imagining highways to Biking for all ages and What is equitable traffic enforcement? Luckily, all of the presentations and panels were recorded and posted on the League of American Bicyclists YouTube channel.

The momentum of the Summit culminated on the last day as bike advocates from across the country show up and speak up on Capitol Hill. This year, Summit participants asked their federal legislators to take three actions identified by the League:

1. Truck Side Guards

The Ask: Improve safety for bicyclists by asking vulnerable road users to be included in a National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration study on truck side guards.

Why It Matters: While large trucks represent only 4% of vehicles on the road, 11% of crashes involving bicyclists and pedestrians involve large trucks. Many of these tragic fatalities are avoidable and can be dramatically reduced by requiring Lateral Protective Devices (LPDs) or Side Guards.

2. E-BIKE Act

The Ask: Co-Sponsor the Electric Bicycle Incentive Kickstart for the Environment (E-BIKE) Act which creates a tax rebate for people buying electric bikes similar to the tax incentive for buying a car. Rebates would be for 30% of the cost of a new eBike, up to $1,500 maximum, and sets safety standards for eBike batteries.

Why It Matters: Data from Colorado and other states demonstrates that eBike ridership is replacing between 20%–40% of everyday car trips with eBike trips. Replacing even a fraction of car trips with eBikes has an impact on traffic while contributing to national and statewide climate goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote access to healthy lifestyles for people of all ages.

3. Sarah Debbink Langenkamp Active Transportation Safety Act [House only]

The Ask: Named after the U.S. Diplomat and mother of two boys who was killed riding her bike home in the Washington, D.C. metro area. The Act would make it easier for states and local governments to use Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) dollars as a local match for other federal funding programs for active transportation investments.

Why It Matters: Bicyclists and pedestrians account for 12% of transportation but 20% of fatalities. Small and rural communities often lack the local match funds to be able to compete for larger federal grants, such as the Transportation Alternatives Program, to enhance safety. This bill will improve safety for vulnerable road users, especially in small and rural communities.

Bicycle Colorado organized and hosted meetings for ten Colorado delegates to meet with staff from state Senators Bennet and Hickenlooper as well as Rep. Neguse (CO-02), Rep. Lamborn (CO-05) and Rep. Pettersen (CO-07). In each meeting, we provided updates on the state of riding a bike in our communities and made the case for their support of the three key asks. This work is incredibly valuable because it not only connects legislators with their constituents to hear their concerns but also ensures decisions made in Washington serve everyone in Colorado who cares about safely riding a bike. Thanks to everyone who participated and please consider joining Team Colorado at next year’s National Bike Summit!

Bicycle Colorado

About the Author: Bicycle Colorado

Bicycle Colorado is a 501(c)3 nonprofit based in Denver. We use advocacy, education and passion to make Colorado one of the most bicycle-friendly states in the nation. We encourage and promote bicycling, increase safety, improve conditions and provide a voice for people who ride bicycles in Colorado. With the support of our members and numerous partnerships across the public and private sector, we’ve made significant strides in improving bicycling since 1992.

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