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October 13, 2023

A Legislative Playbook to Build More Bikeable Communities

By: PeopleForBikes Staff

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Designed to aid policymakers and advocates in expanding local bike infrastructure, this comprehensive guide outlines four highly effective legislative strategies.

PeopleForBikes’ latest initiative, The Great Bike Infrastructure Project, is an ambitious program aimed at transforming communities across the United States by championing pro-bike policies and launching thousands of bike infrastructure projects. The goal of the project is to create safer and more accessible biking opportunities for everyone.

This visionary program comprises three vital components:

1. The implementation of thousands of bike projects

2. The passage of pro-bike legislation

3. Significant investments in local communities 

In this four-part blog series, "A Legislative Playbook to Build More Bikeable Communities," we’ll dive into the legislative arm of our new program, exploring policies that promote safe, complete bike networks while also highlighting states and municipalities that are successfully putting these policies into action.

The policy pillars that make up The Great Bike Infrastructure Project’s legislative arm are outlined in the program’s Legislative Guide. Designed to aid policymakers and advocates in expanding local bike infrastructure for transportation and recreation, this comprehensive guide outlines four highly effective legislative solutions to accelerate the construction of safe and connected biking infrastructure. 

The key strategies featured in the guide include:

  • Funding for Bike Infrastructure: While there is an unprecedented amount of federal funding available for bike infrastructure, state and local funding are essential to propel more projects forward. Local funding also provides the 20-50% local match required for most federal grants. Our guide offers examples of more than a dozen different state and local funding mechanisms for bike infrastructure, ranging from Tax Increment Financing districts to sales tax revenue and everything in between.
  • Mandating Complete Streets: The implementation of Complete Streets mandates is a pivotal strategy for advancing bike infrastructure. Complete Streets ensure that all road users — including pedestrians, cyclists, public transit users, and drivers — have safe and accessible ways to reach their destinations. Our guide provides examples of legislation that includes strong and specific requirements for creating Complete Streets, including language that allows for limited exceptions and denotes clear roles and responsibilities to make mandates effective.
  • Advancing Bike Infrastructure Through Climate Legislation: Our guide underscores how state and local climate legislation can facilitate the construction of bike projects. By including bike infrastructure in climate legislation, communities can help reduce vehicle miles traveled and greenhouse gas emissions, ultimately delivering significant environmental and fiscal benefits. We highlight examples of climate legislation in Minnesota, Washington, Rhode Island, and Hawaii, showcasing the most effective components.
  • Creating Safer Places to Ride: Ensuring streets are safe for cyclists is paramount to encouraging the adoption of bicycling for both transportation and recreation. Our guide emphasizes several strategies for local communities and states to achieve safer streets, including measures to reduce traffic speeds, ban right turns on red, and adopt modern design standards.

In this blog series, we will provide in-depth insights into each of these legislative strategies and demonstrate where we are already witnessing success stories. Promoting safe and connected places to ride remains our overarching goal to get more people on bikes.

Our work at PeopleForBikes to advance bike riding across the U.S. relies heavily on our local advocacy partners in all 50 states. If you are actively involved in improving bike infrastructure in your community, we would love to hear from you and discuss how PeopleForBikes can support your efforts. Please reach out to us at Together, we can make biking safer and more accessible for all.

Related Topics:

Bike SafetyInclusive BikingBike CommutingSustainable TransportationBike NetworksCity Riding
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