Bikesboro Bicycle Advocacy Techniques & Strategies
Advocacy is the art of persuasion. Bikesboro engages in direct advocacy by persuading public bodies, elected officials, boards, and agency staff to make needed changes to bicycling and walking infrastructure and related policies. Bikesboro also engages in indirect advocacy by working in partnership with individuals, agencies, and associated nonprofits who also do advocacy, as well as using tools such as marketing, plan-making, mapping, petitions, and connecting users to bicycles, to impact community goals and policies.
Bikesboro is an assertive determined community group having fun at what we do. We want to help the community create a bicycle roadway system that even new timid bicyclists can use to go to work, school, shopping or to go have a cup of tea with friends. In a friendly and persistent manner, we insist that bicycle users get their fair share of the transportation resources that are available. We don't want everything, we just want our fair share. The people we need to convince are our neighbors and we will treat them with respect, yet at the same time we will strongly advocate for what we think is right and beneficial, safe and just for the present and future of bicycling as an active and nonviolent means of transport.
We use a variety of advocacy techniques and strategies. Some are simple and passive. Others require more preparation and work.
Simple and passive techniques include:
- Bicycling throughout the community, including on busy commercial streets, being seen and noticed by all.
- Talking up the benefits of bicycling with friends, colleagues, and neighbors. Health, freedom, and low-cost transportation.
- Having fun while bicycling, be it on the road, trail, path, or highway. Enjoy yourself!
Somewhat more complicated techniques include:
- Attend transportation open houses for new projects and making your presence felt. Talk up your favorite project with engineers.
- Participate in public meetings and respectfully speak your opinions to others. Bicyclists not only need to be seen, but heard too!
- Volunteer at public events as a bicyclist, show the greater community that we as bicyclists are also active community members.
More sophisticated techniques include:
- Work with other community cyclists in forming advocacy strategies and coordinating collective advocacy efforts.
- Talk planning with planners and engineering with engineers. Be ready and willing to "walk the talk" when opportunities arise.
- Petitions. Working with "signed" citizens to ask government bodies directly for specific improvements.
- Create opportunities for dialog by scheduling meetings with key players and talking up politicians and other decision-makers.
High-level strategies and techniques include:
- Create an alternative community bicycle plan. If all streets and paths ought to have facilities, what should they be, and why?
- Develop a model plan. Want protected bike lanes? Where should they be? Develop diagrams, renderings, and a concept design.
- Tactical urbanism. Create with the city pilot projects for new types of bicycle infrastructure at less busy locations, to test new ideas.
We also engage in several ongoing activities, including:
- Tracking bike improvements on city streets when the annual repaving list is announced and advocating for additional facilities.
- Influencing the design of long-term projects funded through the STIP and MTIP processes, with federal, state, and local funding.
- Compiling a list of upcoming advocacy opportunities and notifying our friends and allies of such opportunities.