Last Thursday, May 17th, biking and walking advocates from around the state came to Beacon Hill for Massachusetts’ first Bike/Walk Summit. Simultaneously, scores of people who couldn’t make it to the Summit called in to their state Representative and Senator to let them know that safer streets for biking and walking need to be a priority.
The event attendees started coming into the State House to meet at Nurses’ Hall by 9:30 AM, picking up their packets and learning more about the legislation we are trying to pass. We also included a list of Principles for Walking and Biking which we asked the legislators to sign on to and we hope will form the foundation for a Biking and Walking Caucus in the future. Six legislators signed the principles on the spot, and we are following up with several other interested offices (we’ll be posting a full list later on, once we have finalized with the interested legislators).
The event wrapped up with a lunchtime presentation by Aaron Naparstek (pictured above), describing his own journey into the life of a community advocate. Ultimately, he founded StreetsBlog, an online authority in communities across the country on grassroots, pro-bike/pro-walk efforts. Everyone commented afterward that the presentation was both entertaining and a powerful demonstration of the impact one person can have in their community.
We have been busy here at the MassBike office following up with the legislators and leadership on the three pieces of legislation we are trying to pass (for summaries, click here). Stay tuned for an Action Alert next week to try to get the Vulnerable Road Users Bill out of the Joint Committee on Transportation, since it needs to move by June 1st.
If you want safer streets for bicyclists, consider donating today to MassBike. As the only statewide bike advocacy organization, we depend on members and donations for the majority of our funding. Without this generous support, we couldn’t have organized this event which highlighted to our state’s decision makers how crucially important biking is in our communities. If you aren’t a member, consider joining today. As always, we couldn’t have done it (or continue doing it) without you.