The lowdown on Safe Streets Day: why we need you!
Want more and better options for bicycling? Join us at the state capitol on Wednesday, March 1 to lobby for better bicycling. Safe Streets Day at the Capitol is replacing our longstanding, annual lobby event that was a part of the Colorado Bicycle Summit (now held in October).
The Colorado legislative session only runs through May, so now is a critical time to show up and speak up. Do it for yourself, your kids, your riding buddies and individuals who can’t be there. The event is brief—from 8:00 to 10:00 a.m. You’re also invited to stick around and test ride an eBike from Haibike after the breakfast meetings conclude.
Your personal stories make a significant difference, bolster our advocacy efforts and help amplify our collective voice as bicycle riders in Colorado. Your legislators want to hear from YOU, and we will make sure they know that you have showed up.
What to expect
The lobby day is somewhat of controlled chaos, but in a good way. It gives you a look behind the scenes of advocacy and allows you to be part of democracy in action. We want you to feel empowered to lend your personal voice to bicycling issues facing our state. Elected officials generally take seriously the concerns expressed in person by those they directly represent.
The way it works is that we host a light breakfast, encouraging legislators and their aides to come by, grab a bite and briefly meet with any of their constituents attending. There is no schedule and no appointments; it’s more of a ‘catch as catch can’ environment.
Don’t be intimidated! You’ll only get a few minutes with your legislators. We will provide talking points to everyone who registers and be there to guide you should you have questions. The topics might change right up until March 1 because activity in the legislature can move fast with priorities changing rapidly.
For efficiency, look for others with whom you share a legislator (as indicated on your name tags) so that you can all meet with him or her together. The meetings are informal and give you the opportunity to ask for their support on a certain legislative bill while expressing why it’s important to you. Be sure to share that you live and/or work in their district and that you vote!
Our goal is to meet with as many state legislators and their aides as we can to express the importance of bicycling and improving access and safety. Schedules shift quickly at the capitol, so we often try to pull legislators out of session to meet with our attendees.
We will make every effort to connect you with your legislators and/or their aides at the capitol. Even if you don’t get to meet with him or her directly, rest assured that your presence as part of the bicycling movement still makes a big difference—strength in numbers is important! Also, legislative aides often help drive policy by acting as experts on various topics, so speaking with and educating them is just as valuable.
What’s at stake
This legislative session is one of the most active for bicycling issues in years—there are multiple bills at stake that will affect our community. As with all political movements, the stronger our collective voice, the better. This is not a year to be sitting on the sidelines!
Currently, we’re tracking multiple issues; click on each one to get more information and learn why Bicycle Colorado supports it. More information will be provided to assist you in talking about the issues with your elected officials.
- Include bicycling and walking funding in the state’s transportation funding bill. There are more than $330 million of biking and walking projects around the state awaiting funding. While both parties agree that the state is facing a significant funding shortfall for transportation, legislators need to hear from you to realize how important it is to include bicycling funding in any proposed bill.
- Stop the practice of rolling coal. Have you ever been riding your bicycle and been subjected to an intentional blast of black diesel smoke from a passing vehicle? This alarming action called “rolling coal” is far too common. Unfortunately, Colorado’s laws make it almost impossible for police to ticket coal rollers. A new bill, headed for a full vote in the house, will make it easier to police this already illegal activity.
- Clarify statewide eBike regulations. Bicycle Colorado helped our state be one of the first to define electric-assist bikes in 2009. This year, the eBike industry has come together to agree on a specific classification system to improve safety and enforcement. House Bill 1151 would align Colorado’s definitions with the national standards.
- Support the Safety (Idaho) Stop. On February 7, Bicycle Colorado joined several people from across the state to testify in favor of the Safety Stop Bill. The bill failed 3-2 in the Senate Transportation Committee despite strong support from across the state. The proposed bill would have allowed bicyclists to treat stop signs as yield and red lights as stop signs if the coast is clear—something that has been shown to actually increase bicyclist safety. This conversation must be ongoing and we’ll see to it.
Ultimately, Safe Streets Day at the Capitol is a unique, educational and powerful experience. Take your passion for bicycling to the next level, see how easy it is to be an advocate and meet like-minded people in the process. We hope to see you there!