Bicycle Advocacy: What you can do
Yes, all photos in this post’s gallery were taken in Monterey County. We celebrate our vibrant and diverse bike community! On the Bicycling Monterey website, you’ll find stories about nearly every one of the people shown below.
Many of you are already engaged in bicycling advocacy in Monterey County. If so, thank you. If not yet, there are many ideas below for how you can plug in locally, and in state and national efforts too.
Wanna help but bike advocacy examples below are just TMI? No worries, phone Mari. Let’s talk!
Effective bike advocacy is only possible with…
Team effort. That’s true whether you advocate through contributing time or money to Bicycling Monterey and its projects, help local bike clubs and other bike community leaders, participate in the Transportation Agency for Monterey County’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, volunteer at our county’s annual bike festival, expo, and races, or in other ways. “Think globally, act locally.“ Get involved at the local level. Feel free to contact me with your questions and ideas.
Monterey County does not yet have an official bicycle coalition or alliance. Bicycling Monterey is among those who have helped fill in that gap for now, as the California Bicycle Coalition noted in their Cal Bike Report (scroll down): “Mari consistently advocates for bicycling in a part of the state that’s great for riding but that has relatively little of the bicycle advocacy community seen in other parts of the state. ” As the Alliance for Biking & Walking reported (scroll down), “Mari doesn’t wait until all conditions are right and funds are available; she just dives in and gets things done!”
And you can too–if you aren’t already!
Listen in for Monterey County’s presence in the Alliance for Biking & Walking’s 10/22/14 Mutual Aid call about multilingual and multicultural resources. Click here, then scroll to 7:55-16:55 in the recording of that call. The topic of that conversation is just one of many ways you can get involved in local bike advocacy. Please contact me if you’d like to help.
In addition to local bike advocacy, consider supporting state and national bike advocacy efforts too. These have a significant impact on bike infrastructure funds and more. Some of the best of these are listed below.
Please read over the three sections of this page.
Contact me with your ideas and questions.
Do you like bike and pedestrian friendly areas, such as the Custom House Plaza? You can help preserve these in ways such as: (1) helping improve bike infrastructure–including bike parking areas, bike and pedestrian access to such areas, and more; (2) be a good ambassador for the bike community by respecting laws and etiquette; (3) volunteering or otherwise contributing to the Bicycling Monterey work and that of other local bike advocates.
You may be surprised to learn all that’s behind our increasingly bike-friendly county. It doesn’t happen by magic! Here’s a big chunk of how it happens….
I. Help improve bike infrastructure
Be part of the solution.
If you aren’t already, consider taking an active role in making better bikeways. If you are already active, perhaps you’re up for doing a little more.
First, you might want to consider the bikeability of your neighborhoods. Download PDF: 1 bikeabilitychecklist
- Keep in mind that better bike infrastructure for local communities doesn’t just mean bike paths, lanes, and routes for getting around. It also means such things as working with others to create more opportunities for kids and adults to legally follow other bike passions –like helping to create more local BMX parks, not just for racing but for recreational and social riding. Do you know youth like Bryan Perez who wish there were more local BMX ops? Bicycling Monterey’s main resources page includes a section on BMX and offers one or more ways to connect with other BMX advocates.)
- Infrastructure contacts are on Bicycling Monterey’s main resources page. Bicycling Monterey regularly features posts about current local bike infrastructure matters, and you can help get such news out to others. How? Commit to doing the necessary research and staying informed about one or more local bike infrastructure needs, then write guest posts for this site. (This prevents people later saying, “I didn’t know $18,000 was available for free bike racks and lockers locally!” or “I didn’t know our state senator voted for three-foot passing and the governor vetoed it!”)
- Subscribe to the Bicycling Monterey website, or its RSS feed, so you can catch some bike community news.
- Respond to requests for public input.
- Attend meetings of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Facilities Advisory Committee of the Transportation Agency for Monterey County. Consider volunteering to serve on the committee. Can’t make the meetings? Sign up for committee meeting updates from TAMC. Attend related TAMC Board of Directors meetings too. (As TAMC’s 2014 board chair Jane Parker wrote in a summary in the Monterey County Herald, “Help keep TAMC an example of good government by participating in its meetings, weighing in on important decisions. You can review TAMC agendas on the website at www.tamcmonterey.org [for bike/ped, go here] and submit your comments in writing, or attend a board [or bike/ped advisory committee] meeting to let your views be known.”
- Attend City Council and other public meetings, Board of Supervisors meetings, traffic advisory committee meetings, regional trail network meetings, and related events (e.g., transportation and parking charrette) to voice your support for better bikeways.
- Express your gratitude to municipal and other leaders for the improvements that are made to local bikeways. And celebrate successes!
- Like what you see elsewhere, like the detailed info on the back of the City of Madison bike map? It serves as a City of Madison Bike Map & Guide, or as a bike info poster as well. Take the initiative to help TAMC, City of Salinas, CSUMB, and others to make their own cool bike maps–which already share some such info–even better.
- Federal, state, and local budget cuts have resulted in cuts to city and county staff hours in most places. When making a request or posing a question to a municipal employee, please be mindful of that. If your circumstances permit, ask how you can help. Whether by serving on a city board or committee, a countywide committee, see how you can share the burden of improving bicycle infrastructure needs.
- Contact state and federal legislators regarding related legislation.
- Show up when national leaders, such as the U.S. Transportation Secretary and the U.S. Secretary of the Interior visit, so they are reminded of the needs of people who bike.
- Participate in national Alliance for Biking and Walking mutual aid conference calls and Safe Routes to School webinars to become a more effective local advocate.
- Think globally, act locally. Support Monterey County efforts, including:
- Bicycling Monterey
- Ciclovia Salinas
- Monterey Off Road Cycling Association
- Naval Postgraduate School Foundation (and ask that it be designated for NPS Cycling Club)
- Velo Club Monterey
- and the many other local bike community leaders!
Follow state and national bike advocacy organizations on Twitter to stay in touch. (And Bicycling Monterey is on Twitter @bikemonterey – https://twitter.com/BikeMonterey. The HER Helmet Thursdays project is on Twitter @HERHelmetThurs – https://twitter.com/HERHelmetThurs
- California Bicycle Coalition @calbike
- People for Bikes @peopleforbikes (check out their cool videos and sign the pledge)
- Alliance for Biking and Walking @BikeWalk (make use of their resources, including mutual aid conference calls like their 9-14-11 one on outreach to Spanish speaking communities)
- Safe Routes to School @saferoutesca and @saferoutesnow (check out what’s happening locally, and respond to requests for SRTS support–and take advantage of their webinars, like their 2011 one on bicycle parking, security, and storage)
- League of American Bicyclists @bikeleague And make use of help offered by local League instructors)
- National Center for Bicycling and Walking/BikeWalk.org, offers a list of their Top 10 Bike/Ped Resources
II. Build strong relationships–within the bike community, and by serving as a considerate ambassador in the larger community
- Be mindful of laws and etiquette, including when biking in pedestrian areas such as plazas or, perhaps at times, on sidewalks. (For more about sidewalk riding–including local ordinances–see Bicycling Monterey’s CA Bike Laws and Personal Safety section.
- Our Constables of the Peace are great in Monterey County. Make their job easier–and be a good ambassador for the bike world–by brushing up on those CA Bike Laws and Personal Safety Tips!
- Help others keep the vibe cool by sharing a summary of California bike laws, in English and Spanish, with other people who bike: Leyes de ciclismo de CA – Laws for bicyclists in CA (Spanish, English) – Summary
- Volunteer with Bicycling Monterey. (Why? See Section III below.)
- Volunteer with the HER Helmet Thursdays project. Have a favorite Monterey County business or organization you’d like to see in the H-E-R Helmet Thursdays project? Invite them.
- Make a contribution to the Bicycling Monterey work. Even a $5 or $10 contribution helps maintain and expand these resources and projects.
- Ask me about other local bike-related volunteer opportunities, such as Ciclovia Salinas, PAL bike fairs and other ways to help get more youth on bikes.
- Contact local bike clubs, listed on the Bicycle Shops, Services, Clubs, and Resources page, and offer to help with trail work, community outreach events, education, and more.
- Do you love a parade? The larger community has asked that the bike community have a presence in local parades. To make this happen requires someone to volunteer to be the coordinator for the bike community. Is that you? Contact me for more info.
- Look over that Bicycle Shops, Services, Clubs, and Resources page to become aware of the many resources available in Monterey County, then…
- Spread the word!
- See Posters, Weblinks, and Other Project Resources on this site.
- Been to a HER Helmet Thursdays spot where a staff member didn’t know about the project? Help that busy manager out by printing and dropping off the HHT Staff Reference Sheet, with a cheery “thank you for participating–thought this sheet might be helpful.” You might print and offer them a participant’s sign (found on that “Posters, Weblinks…” page) too, to help attract new business.
- Have a bicycle shop or bike services location? Laminate and post this PDF: Bike Shops in Bike Friendly Monterey County
- Spanish-language resources are available on this site: información en español sobre las bicicleta.Get the word out with these fliers: SPANISH 2-to-a-pg flier re Spanish resources at Bicycling Monterey website
III. Volunteer time or contribute money or other resources in support of the Bicycling Monterey work
Along with the local bike community leaders found on the “Bicycle Shops, Services, Clubs, and Resources” page, Bicycling Monterey is helping to make Monterey County an even more bicycling friendly place for visitors and residents. The Transportation Agency for Monterey County recognized the value of the Bicycling Monterey resources and projects with a Transportation Excellence Award on January 25, 2012.
Don’t know what Bicycling Monterey is about? Here’s a summary:
Bicycling Monterey serves as an information hub for bicycling in Monterey County, with over 450 posts and web pages of info. Who is the site for?
It is for locals and visitors, from Carmel to Castroville, those whose presence expands our perspectives and those in our community who require help at this time. It includes serious cycling and cycling chic fun. It is for teen girls and boys, children starting out, differently abled people who bike (guest posts needed!), and elders too.
The Bicycling Monterey website and projects are a public service of Mari Lynch and Fine Wordworking, recognized by the Alliance for Biking & Walking, Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments, City of Monterey, City of Salinas, City of Seaside, Transportation Agency for Monterey County, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Monterey-Salinas Transit, National Steinbeck Center, Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey County Convention & Visitors Bureau, Monterey Bay Unified Air Pollution Control District, Community Alliance for Safety and Peace, Monterey Institute of International Studies, California State University Monterey Bay, Hartnell College, Stevenson School, Big Sur International Marathon, Monterey Jazz Festival, Monterey Green Action, Sierra Club-Ventana Chapter, Monterey Off Road Cycling Association, Naval Postgraduate School Foundation Cycling Club, Sea Otter Classic, Velo Club Monterey, California Bicycle Coalition, Bike to Work – Santa Cruz, and many others, and recommended and featured by media including KUSP Central Coast Public Radio, KSBW, the Monterey County Weekly, the Salinas Californian, and the Monterey County Herald.
Here’s an example of one local need: http://bit.ly/TeachTeensWell
Below, teens in Castroville helping to get the word out about the availability of local bicycling resources.
Below, Kaki Cheung of the Transportation Agency for Monterey County (TAMC), using the Cycle Tracks app in Salinas. Learn more about Kaki and TAMC in “Section 11: Infrastructure” on the Bicycle Shops, Services, Clubs, and Resources page.
Here’s the question:
Will today’s children–and future generations–find this a wonderful place to bike?
It’s up to us.
Is there anything at all happening for local Safe Routes to School efforts? Yes! Click here.