Features & Articles : Advocacy is alive and well in Florida and
This article features highlights from bicycle conferences in Florida held during 2002.
Statewide advocacy for bicycling and trails is alive and well. In
both Florida and Indiana, active citizen groups are pressing hard
for better bicycling conditions, and they are making headway. Both
the Indiana Bicycle Coalition and the Florida Bicycle Association
announced success in working with statewide recreation agencies to
open state parks and trails to bicyclists, and in February more than
400 park and recreation professionals attended the Indiana Trails
and Greenways conference. The Florida Greenways Coordinating Council
and Florida Department of Environmental Protection have jointly prepared
an ambitious plan for connecting communities with trails.
For more information about Florida and Indiana groups visit
Indiana Bicycle Coalition http://www.bicycleindiana.org
Florida Bicycle Association http://www.floridabicycle.org/
Hoosier Rail-trails http://www.indianatrails.org
Florida Rails to Trails Conservancy http://www.railtrails.org/FL
Great individual successes
Bob Lamb is a bicyclist who has been working with county leaders on
development of a shared-route on-road bikeway system in LaPorte County,
Ind. That doesn't sound too remarkable until you learn that in just
18 months, Bob initiated the routing, mapping, signing, and promotion
of a 400-mile network of bike routes in this Northern Indiana county.
Most agencies can take much longer to get that much done! The entire
project will cost approximately $120,000 in direct costs, and Bob
even managed to get a contribution of $28,000 from the Solid Waste
agency on the strength of the bike route signs being made from recycled
The Time is Now for Bicycling
The most striking similarity between the two conferences and the two
States, was one strong common theme that emerged from numerous speakers
and workshops. We are currently experiencing a unique set of circumstances
that ought to make bicycling in this country explode with popularity
- and we must somehow grab this opportunity with both hands.
To take advantage
of this unique convergence of opportunities, bicycling must overcome
a series of common obstacles ranging from a general lack of respect
for bicycling to popular misconceptions about bicycling and institutional
neglect within transportation and other government agencies.
gas prices are forcing a national debate on energy policy, and
making people think about how and even if they travel by car�and
that's with gas soaring to less than $2 per gallon!
is getting noticeably worse in most metropolitan areas and commuters
are spending countless hours stuck in pointless traffic jams�and
most people still live within 5 miles of work!
is a national epidemic with lack of physical activity now recognized
as a leading contributor to more than 300,000 premature deaths
every year�the public health community is all over the bicycling
and walking issue.
a perfect match for almost any issue", according to one of the
speakers in Indiana.
Ben Lytle, Chairman of Anthem, Inc. an Indiana-based health management
company, speaking at the Indiana Bicycle Conference, urged the audience
to "really sell bicycling, and not always in the obvious places."
In particular, Lytle encouraged the bicycle community to:
You can see Ben
Lytle's powerpoint presentation by clicking
- sell bicycling
to those who don't yet ride but who want to, or who want to ride
- dispel the
myths that bicycling takes a lot of time and effort compared to
- expose the
real impact of running and other "impact" sports
- promote the
activity in mainstream places
- target particular
audiences who are predisposed to riding (e.g those wanting to
get in better shape)
- promote the
activity as fun (rather than as an extreme sport)
- take advantage
of our strengths and successes (e.g. celebrate and highlight those
communities that encourage bicycling and have created good facilities)
If we can't promote bicycling at a time of energy crisis, rising gas
prices, worsening congestion, an obesity epidemic, and global warming�we'll
never make real progress towards making Indiana, Florida or any other
state in the nation a cycling Utopia.
States with Bicycle/Pedestrian Conferences In 2001
Alaska, September 13-14. Contact Robert.email@example.com
Washington, October 10-12. Visit www.bicyclealliance.org
Massachusetts, October 24-25. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
These states have annual or bi-annual bicycle and pedestrian conferences
that are likely to happen in 2002