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March 09, 2005

Congressional Bicycle Caucus: Introduction

How many ordinary bicyclists are even aware that there is such a thing as the Congressional Bicycle Caucus among the members of the United States House of Representatives.

How many even think their Representatives even know HOW to ride a bike at all? :-)

How many Senators do? :-)

Well, I'm here to begin to shed some light on these folks, and try to keep an eye on what they are doing for bicyclists.

Let's begin by introducing you to the Caucus, and its mission.

Congressman Earl Blumenauer (3rd District- Oregon) is founder, and leader, of the pack, and his website hosts the HQ page for the Caucus.

There are 2 things of importance there that shed light on the group.

The 1st is a brief bit of history:

When he was Elected to Congress, in 1996, Bluemenauer, who worked closely with Portland activists, in his previous job, noticed the Capital was a nice place to bike ride.

This, and his apparent realization that cyclists are some of the most determined, most dedicated, and most fun people around, led to the development of the House Bike Caucus.

He began working with Representatives Oberstar, DeFazio and Kennedy, whose Chain Gang successfully moved cycling onto the national agenda in 1991, to develope the Causus.

According to their website, The Bike Caucus was

conceived as an informal, bipartisan group whose primary goal would be to provide a place for cycling Members of Congress and their staffs to have fun. We also wanted to provide Congressional leadership to complement the efforts of the millions of cyclists working for safer roads, more bikeways, convenient bike parking and increased recognition of the importance of cycling to our communities.

On the website is a Mission Statement:

Members of the Bike Caucus Believe:

It is in the national interest to promote low-cost, low-impact transportation modes which decrease our reliance on imported fossil fuels;

It is in the national interest to insure that our national infrastructure provides safe, appropriate transportation options for all citizens;and

Cycling as a mode of transportation requires no fossil fuels, has no impact on air quality, creates less wear and tear on roads, and is more affordable than automated vehicles.

The Bike Caucus has been formed to promote cycling as an inexpensive, non-polluting, healthy and fun mode of transportation for all kinds of trips through:

Briefings for Members of the House of Representatives and their staff;

Educational and recreational rides for Members of the House of Representatives and their staff; and

Legislation.

Cool! :-)

The devil, however, is in the details, and results.

I imagine there are a lot of state, and national advocacy organizations that keep an eye on Congress, and it will be interesting to learn what is actually happening, legislatively with regards to Bicycling Issues.

The site no longer has info on group activities from 1999-2002 ( I couldn't find the info, anyway ). When the website was re-designed some things were apparently thought un-important when deciding what should stay.

Too bad as this was what impressed me in the 1st place

The section has NO list of informational bicycling links.

I have no staff, and a non-existent to tiny available budget for my riding activities, and look how many links I'VE found searching my computer.

The Caucus has had how many years of a headstart on me?:-)

There is a link to a Transportation and Bicycling page:

On this page you will find related Floor Speeches, and Press Releases, to other related Caucuses in Congress.

The best thing about the site is that it has a list of Caucus members so you can see from which state each is from, and what political party they are.

To see the list of current members go to the site:

Congressional Bicycle Caucus.

The Numbers: Bicycle Caucus members by State and Party.

I 1st wrote about the caucus a year ago, and now is the time, as this site has grown, to begin looking closer at their activities.

One has to wonder, though, what the fate of the caucus will be when its leaders are no longer in Congress.

March 9, 2005 in Congressional Bicycle Caucus Watch | Permalink

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Comments

I like your site!

I sold my car to undertake a 6 month experiment of living without a car in small town usa.

Roanoke, VA.

I am 3 months into it.

It's been terrific experience.

A lot lot easier to live without a car than I ever imagined!

My blog (See Link in my name!) tracks daily experiences through video, text and images...

Posted by: carlessbrit | Mar 10, 2009 12:19:16 PM

hey,
how do i purchase one of the bike pins that is worn by Bluemenauer? is there a website to order them from? i am a Democrat living abroad in vancouver BC.
thanks

Posted by: Raviv | Oct 21, 2009 3:37:05 PM

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