Policy and Funding: Turning Bicycling Advocacy into Action

It is obvious to those passionate about cycling that bicycle infrastructure policy needs to change in order to give ridership a boost and help bicycling grow in the United States. We need to act, communicate, and use resources to ensure that legislative bodies understand the importance of bicycling so that we have safe access for all bicyclists, and that it is easy for people to bike to work, to shop, and for enjoyment. 

To ensure a broader-brush approach to bicycle infrastructure we need to help city planners, transportation planners, master planners, and architects consider bicycles in their work. We need to create alliances and new champions in city staff, the general public, and elected officials who will help to push bicycling forward for every community to enjoy and benefit from. A variety of legislative and funding resources can help communities prioritize their advocacy efforts for bicycling.

Legislative Relevance

Effective legislation interventions affect government policies. While legislation may differ depending on the locale, the quality of the legislation is what ultimately will achieve the desired outcome. What follows are examples of legislation that has proactively supported bicycling as a transportation mode. New legislative and funding sources are continually evolving. Refer to the Resources section for more information.

States Department of Transportation – Federal Highway Administration / Bicycle and Pedestrian Guidance

Utilize this resource for state and local governments to support the implementation of best practices. It includes documents explaining the need for mainstream bicycling and walking in planning, design, and operations. There is also information about central location laws, policies, and guidance about the Federal-aid Highway Program (FAHP), and information on the Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements to provide curb ramps, when infrastructure is altered through resurfacing.

The League of American Bicyclists – Model Legislation

The League’s legal affairs committee, made up of bicycle lawyers from across the country, is working to create model legislation that can be used to improve bicyclists’ safety and comfort in every community. In the summer of 2012, the committee completed a model Vulnerable Road User law.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – Resources Guide on Laws Related to Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety

From time to time, highway safety professionals and others have requested information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) about the safety benefits to pedestrians and bicyclists of specific state and local laws. To fulfill these requests, NHTSA developed an annotated database of existing and model laws related to pedestrian and bicyclist safety.

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