The “Big 5″ of Advocacy
Chances are that you’ve got a local, regional, or state bicycle advocacy organization working to improve conditions in your area. But do you know who is working at the national level to change bicycling in this country? And why should you care? These groups are working to fundamentally change all aspects of bicycling in this country. Everything from how projects are funded, how laws are written and enforced, building and strengthening local groups, to on and off-road access, etc. In no particular order…
The League of American Bicyclists – Originally formed in 1880 as the “League of American Wheelman”, this is the world’s oldest transportation organization. Best known these days for their popular “Bicycle Friendly Community” initiative and “National Bike Month“, the League works on advocacy, outreach, and education issues that affect all bicyclists. More information on their Mission, History, and Key Programs here.
Bikes Belong Coalition – promotes that they “put people on bicycles more often”. Formed by the bicycling industry to strengthen and increase Federal Policy and Funding, build National Partnerships, provide Community Grants, and promote bicycling. Best known for their grants of up to $10,000 to fund projects that will improve local bicycling conditions.
Thunderhead Alliance for Bicycling and Walking – the National Coalition of grass-roots local, regional, and statewide bicycling and walking organizations. Originally formed in the late 1990′s to form and build a national strategy for the Federal Transportation Bill reauthorization, Thunderhead quickly began helping to build and support the grass-roots organizations all across the country. Find your local and/or state Thunderhead member organization here. Thinking about starting a local organization? Thunderhead would love to hear from you and help you to get started!
International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) – The national powerhouse in Mountain Bike Advocacy formed in 1988. IMBA focuses on creating, maintaining, and preserving trails for bicyclists worldwide. Best known for their excellent trail education resources – an impressive list can be found here – IMBA has a truly staggering number of member groups and supporters. IMBA works at the Federal level to influence funding and laws for bicyclists.
Rails-To-Trails Conservancy (RTC) – Their mission is to “…create a nationwide network of trails from former rail lines and connecting corridors to build healthier places for healthier people.” RTC was formed in 1986, and in the national clearinghouse for all things trail-related. In addition, RTC is working at the Federal level to ensure that funding for non-motorized transportation is continually enhanced with each Federal Transportation Bill Reauthorization. More information on RTC can be found here.