Bikes Belong hosts Congressional Call-In at Interbike

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The Bikes Belong Coalition, along with the League of American Bicyclists and Interbike, will orchestrate a “Congressional Call-In” campaign at the 2011 Interbike International Bicycle Expo in Las Vegas, September 14-16, to push for continuing federal investment in bicycle infrastructure.

Congress is currently considering another extension of the multi-year Federal Transportation bill, which provides crucial funding for bicycle-related projects. The current extension expires on September 30, and needs the industry’s support to sustain it.

The BBC’s booth (L28) at Interbike will be the site of the Congressional Hotline, a red phone on which attendees can use to call their U.S. Senators and convey to them how federal spending on bicycle-related projects positively affects their businesses, their local economics and the health of their customers.

“The Federal investment in bicycling is under attack in Congress,” said Tim Blumenthal, president of Bikes Belong. “We’re asking bike business leaders to take five minutes out of their busy Interbike schedules to make two urgent phone calls to their state’s U.S. Senators. This timely campaign will help build more bike paths, lanes, trails, and safe routes to school. These investments will continue to increase bicycling participation and grow bike sales.”

Last year federal investment in bicycling supported 3,000 projects in all 50 states, and helped make four billion annual U.S. bike trips safer and easier. About 1.5 percent of transportation dollars were spent to support the 12 percent of U.S. trips made by bike or on foot. Some members of Congress want to end this and reallocate the money to highway construction where it would pay for no more than 10 miles of multi-lane highway in a single city.

BBC staff will be in the booth to provide phone numbers of all the U.S. Senators, as well as concise talking points. The League of American Bicyclists, Alliance for Biking and Walking, IMBA and other America Bikes Coalition member organizations will provide additional support.

“Interbike is the industry’s gathering place,” said Pat Hus, Interbike’s managing director. “Imagine the impact of 24,000 people all calling their senators during the three days of the show. It would be huge. So, we encourage everyone at Interbike to get to the Bikes Belong booth to make a couple calls.”