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What you can do:

Ideas for Promoting Cycling, or making it safer

Also check out the "How to Not Get Hit by Cars" page

Join people already doing the work

For most of the ideas below, try working with a local organization such as Bike Austin, the Yellow Bike Project, or the UTC Bicycle Subcommittee.  Please don't try to reinvent the wheel by starting yet another organization, as many seem to want to do for some reason. We're never going to get anywhere if we continue to have a large number of groups and projects which contain just a few people each (and which quickly die out soon after tehy're started). Let's finally pull together under some of the organizations we already have going.


Be the change you want to see in the world

Usually activists spend their time begging their government for change.  It's easier to effect that change if you are the government.  To that end, one of the most powerful things bike proponents can do is to get themselves into positions where they help call the shots. Bike advocates would be well advised to seek leadership positions in:


Promoting Safety

Educate yourself and your friends about how to avoid getting hit by cars.

Convince local bike stores to include a red rear flashing light on every bike they sell. (They can either eat the whopping $5 wholesale cost, or raise the price of the bike by $5. It's a better deal for the cyclist too, because that light that costs the shop $5 would cost the cyclist $15.)

Lobby for bike lanes and bike-friendly streets. See our list of ideal facilities for bikes.


New Laws

The Texas Bicycle Coalition lobbies for bike legislation (and opposes legislation which would hurt cycling). Hook up with them to work on legislative issues.

Lobby for a state law requiring every driver to take a review course before license renewal. If one has received 2+ moving violations, a DUI, or a reckless driving citation, require a more intensive course including an emotion control component.

Lobby for a state law which would revoke the license of any motorist convicted of causing the death of any other road user (pedestrian, cyclist, or other motorist).

Lobby to remove the loophole that lets bad motorists drive again when they obtain an International Drivers License.


Promoting Access
Help the Yellow Bike Project fix up old bicycles. Don't worry if you don't know how — they'll teach you.

Help the City of Austin Bicycle Program install new bicycle racks around town.
 
Demand that local businesses let bikes use the drive-thru. (The ones that don't include Bank One, McDonald's, and Taco Bell.) Get free stickers from Ozone or Waterloo Cycles that say "Let Bikes Use Drive-Thru", and stick them in the drive-thru areas of these businesses.
 
Report cars parked in bike lanes (on those streets where it's actually against the law; in lots of places it's not). The police non-emergency number is 311.
 
Ride with Jimmy Hudson, a blind cyclist, who needs tandem riding partners ("bicycle built for two"). Call Jiimmy at 323-0229.

Bike-Friendly Streets

See our list of ideal facilities so you know what we need on the streets.

Join an established group already working on these issues, such as the UTC Bicycle Subcommittee or the Bicycle Advocacy Council. They've already got plans on the table and it will be easy for you to get started with them.

Join your Neighborhood Association. Neighborhood associations have a fair amount of political clout in Austin. They can make or break proposed bicycle-friendly projects in their area. Most NA's are open to anyone living in the neighborhood, not just landowners. They tend to be run by a small number of enthusiastic people who want their neighborhood to be a nice place. Many issues that are important to them are also important to cyclists (e.g. how to reduce traffic volume and speed). The cores of the groups tend to be pretty small, and they are always glad to hear of someone who wants to contribute. You can get your hands on some of the clout just by showing up! You may not feel like you're changing the world right away, but by working your way into the city's informal power structure, you will be able to contribute significantly in the future.-- Bill Canfield [Here's a list of Austin NA's.]

Convince the City Council to ban cars from parking in bike lanes.

Lobby the City to include bike lanes on all new roads, or to at least make sure the outside lane is wide enough to easily fit a car and a bike side-by-side.

Persuade the City to install Bicycle Boulevards — barriers in the roadway every few blocks which prevent cars from going through, but allow bicycles to pass through. This reduces traffic speeds and cut-through traffic.  Everyone who lives on affected streets can still get to their homes.

Learn about the politics of transportation planning. We didn't wind up with a crappy transportation system by accident. Find out what's driving bad land use planning and why building more roads isn't the answer.

Write your congresspersons to ask that they address safety problems with rumble strips.

Do guerilla actions to make bike lanes more useful. Repaint the faded white stripe, and paint "NO PARKING" in the bike lanes and on the curbs.


Education & Enforcement

Lobby for police and the D.A. to cite and indict motorists who injure and harass cyclists.

Memorialize cyclists who have been killed by cars by painting stencils in the street where the crashes occurred, or locking a white Ghost Bike at the scene.

Start or support a public education campaign to let motorists know that bikes have a legal right to the road.

Learn about the politics of transportation planning. We didn't wind up with a crappy transportation system by accident. Find out what's driving bad land use planning and why building more roads isn't the answer.


Direct Action against cars

Report Polluting Vehicles. If you see a motor vehicle pumping out way too much pollution, you can call 800-453-SMOG and give them the license plate #, time & date of the sighting, and street & city of the sighting. Then the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality will send the owner a letter asking them to tune up their vehicle. You can also report them online.

Report Cars Parked in Bike Lanes. Read about that here. Here's also a PDF of some "tickets" you can place on the windshields of cars parked in bike lanes.

Last update: November 2012.




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Cheapest Airfares. I actually hope you won't fly, because of the pollution it causes. But making this site was my way to get your attention for that message. If you're going to fly anyway, see my top 10 tips for finding cheap airfare, a comparison of the different search engines, and which site to use in which situations.

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