I love working at Trek. I love riding my bike. Last year I rode over 6,000 miles. Many of those miles on my 22.4 mile route to work from Madison to Waterloo. I love the exercise, I love the sun rising in the morning and setting in the evening, I love all the sights along the way. To be honest with you, the only thing that makes me nervous are the cars. While there has been a lot of progress made over the last 20 years on making cycling safer (27,000 new bike projects around the United States, thousands more dedicated bike lanes, a 3 foot passing rule in 24 states, and the list goes on) the reality is that there are too many people who die riding a bicycle every year, and there are far too many near misses.
A year ago, I gave a speech in Las Vegas about this. The goal of the speech was to motivate people to work together to create a Bicycle Friendly America. At the end of the speech I was approached by Brendan Lyons from Arizona. Brendan told me that my message was inspiring and that he was going to do what he could do to help make Arizona a more bicycle friendly state. Unfortunately, in October, I received an e-mail from Brendan letting me know that while on a ride with his girlfriend, he was hit by a distracted driver and seriously injured. After 21 days in the hospital, he is finally out and is making good progress. While he is working hard to regain his health, he is working even harder to make the United States a friendly and safe country to ride your bicycle.
There are over 60 million people who ride their bike every year. Republicans, Democrats, men, women, old and young. The bicycle is a very simple solution to congestion, environmental issues, and health issues. As a nation we can reap all of these benefits as long as we continue to work to make the roads safer for cycling.
I have always said that in the United States we have a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, who show up. In order to create a bicycle friendly America we need people who care about cycling to do something. If you really care, here are three specific things that you can to do help make a difference:
1. Watch and share the Dear Motorist video with cyclists and drivers alike. We are all in this together.
2. Join PeopleForBikes. They are working tirelessly to create safe, separated bikeways throughout the country.
3. Send me a note at [email protected] with your best ideas for improving safety. Great ideas can come from anywhere, and I want to hear yours.
Join me by setting a goal to make a difference in the effort to make America a more bicycle friendly country in 2014.