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Bicycling

Cyclists Laud LaHood’s Bike-Ped Advocacy

2:16 PM PDT on May 28, 2010

Several dozen cyclists rode to U.S. DOT headquarters today to present
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood with a letter signed by hundreds of
local bike-ped groups, hailing the former GOP congressman's support for
their cause during his first 16 months on the job.

lahood.jpgLaHood, at
far right, during a tabletop speech at March's National Bike Summit.
(Photo: Jonathan
Maus
)

"Americans want to get outdoors ... they want
opportunities to get out of congestion," LaHood told the assembled
cyclists, some of whom joined him in donning brightly colored bike
lapel pins
to signify support for the Congressional Bike Caucus.

In addition to hailing the health benefits of bike-ped -- LaHood
said he has used the local Rock Island trail near his Peoria hometown
"hundreds of times" -- he also thanked the assembled advocates for
serving as a counterweight to the
criticism
directed his way by the trucking industry after a March
policy statement that endorsed putting cyclists and pedestrians on equal
footing with drivers.

"We need to be promoting biking," the Cabinet member said, but that
effort "does not take away from other forms of transportation."

The letter presented to LaHood, accompanied by a signed poster that
the Washington Area Bicyclist Association compiled during last week's Bike
to Work Day events
, praised the March policy statement on bike-ped
but acknowledged its non-binding nature.

"We have a lot of work to do," wrote the letter's signatory groups,
which included America Bikes, the Safe Routes to School National
Partnership, Transportation for America, and the National Complete
Streets Coalition. The advocates continued:

We should start byintegrating policies that increase safety and accessibility forpedestrians andbicyclists, including Complete Streets and Safe Routes to School, intofederallaw so that new projects receiving DOT funds accommodate all users oftheroad. We should also advocate funding for Active Transportation networks inour cities, towns and metropolitan areas. We lookforward to working with you on a new surface transportation law thatbroadens transportation choices for all Americans ... and introduces new benchmarks for our federal dollars, including those that will supportbiking and walking as equal modes of transportation.

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