Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama recently spoke with bicycle advocates in Chicago, where he pledged to support cyclists and pedestrians. This is exciting news in a country where “transportation” is typically synonymous with “driving.”
Barack Obama, in a private 20-minute meeting with members of the Bikes Belong board of directors, told them if he were elected president he would increase funding for cycling and pedestrian projects. And the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee also said he would support Safe Routes to Schools programs.
He also told them he seldom makes promises on what he would do if elected president, but that this was a promise he would keep. Tim Blumenthal, executive director of Bikes Belong, laid out the industry’s position on boosting funding for cycling-related projects and for Safe Routes to Schools at the meeting.
Stan Day, [bicycle component manufacturer] SRAM’s president, said that Obama “gets it.” He pointed out that Obama understands that bicycles can be part of a solution to issues as diverse as health care, obesity, energy and environmental policy. “He does his homework and he can connect the dots,” he said.
Cycling websites were abuzz with the news that Obama celebrated his primary victory with a family bike ride. Now he’s promising to improve conditions for car-free commuters if elected to US president. Perhaps the sky-high gas prices will increase the significance of Obama’s pro-cyclist stance in the election. American drivers have already dramatically decreased their driver-miles while bike purchases and mass transit ridership have soared.
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