Next week, a committee of the Delaware General Assembly will vote on whether to authorize funding for cycling improvements by the Delaware Department of Transportation next year.
For cyclists in Delaware, this is the most important vote of 2013.
Let me repeat that: this is the most important vote of 2013.
Last year, the Delaware General Assembly voted substantial funding for Bike and Pedestrian Improvements. This year, however, in the draft bill before the committee, there is no funding for Bike and Pedestrian Improvements at DelDOT.
Governor Markell told us last year that democracy will only work for cyclists if we participate. So if we want the Delaware Department of Transportation to have resources to invest in cycling (and walking), we need to let our legislators know how important this is to us.
And here’s something that might be surprising to many people. Not only do our legislators in Dover need to hear from us, most of them also want to hear from us. They hear from their constituents all the time about education; about public safety; about taxes; and about dozens of other issues. That’s how they know that something matters to their constituents. NOW THEY NEED TO HEAR THAT CYCLING AND WALKING ARE ALSO IMPORTANT TO THE FOLKS WHO SENT THEM TO DOVER.
Contact your state senator and representative and tell them you support authorization for the Bike and Pedestrian Improvements program at DelDOT. Ask them, politely but firmly, to tell their colleagues on the Bond Committee that they need to support cycling and walking in Delaware by voting to authorize funding for the Bike and Pedestrian Improvements program at DelDOT. It’s easy! Here’s how:
2) Send them a personal email. Tell them you support more walkable and bikeable communities. Here is a sample letter (word.doc) you can use, including vital safety statistics. Adapt as you wish. But whatever you do, just let your elected representative know that this is important to you. Make our democracy work for cycling.
Delaware was recently named the #5 Bicycle Friendly State in America by the League of American Bicyclists. We want to keep this new ranking. But, as Governor Markell recently pointed out, Delaware’s license plate doesn’t say “fifth state”. We want to improve our new ranking. Like Governor Markell, we want to be first. The committee vote will be next week. By contacting your senator and representative, you can influence this vote. And you can help make Delaware the most bicycle-friendly state in America.
Questions? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
James Wilson is the executive director of Bike Delaware.