Your bike advocacy toolbox

Not all of us are born advocates. You might be hesitant to approach your elected officials for one reason or another, but there are lots of ways that you can make a difference — you just need to find the method that works for you. Regardless of how you choose to make your voice heard, start with small steps and then move on to bigger steps. Take a look at ways that you can be an effective bike advocate without stepping outside your comfort zone:

 

toolkit

The “why”

You have a story to share.

  1. Have you had a close call with a motorist that a 3’ Safe Passing law might have prevented?
  2. Is there a troublesome road or intersection in your community that could benefit from bicycling and pedestrian safety improvements?
  3. Would making Class 1 pedal-assist E-bikes legal help you to use affordable, low-carbon transportation for commuting?

Whatever your reason for being passionate about bike safety and accessibility, your legislators and local planning boards need to know.

The “how”

  1. Write a letter. Explain who you are and why the recipient should pay attention to your story as a resident or constituent. Share your story. Recommend a solution and include relevant statistics or statues to support your idea, if available. Check our Data Center for links.
  2. toolkit2Attend a Town Hall or Board Meeting. Often there is a Courtesy of the Floor where you can speak briefly about your concern. Practice your “elevator speech” about the issue and bring a handout to give to the Board or Legislator that outlines your concern, statistics, and proposed solution. You may wish to include your name and contact information for follow-up.
  3. Be prepared to be a “squeaky wheel.” The old saying that the squeaky wheel gets the grease is appropriate here. You may need to raise your concern repeatedly over time and enlist additional community members to also be vocal about the issue. Join forces with similarly-minded advocates to strengthen your position. The more voices calling for change, the better the chances of success.
  4. Seek an advocacy mentor for support and guidance. Perhaps there is someone in your community who seems to be able to get things done or is well-connected to other advocate resources. Don’t be shy - reach out to them! Introduce yourself, state the issue you are working on and any roadblocks you have encountered, and ask for their advice. If they respond, thank them for their time and wisdom - and implement their suggested tactics if applicable.

. . . What else can I do?

There are plenty of ways that you can advocate for bike safety.

  1. Contact your local state representatives. Reach out to your senator or assemblymember by email, postal mail, or social media to express your support for NYBC’s campaigns.
  2. Sign our petitions.
  3. Join NYBC! Membership in advocacy organizations can give you access to information and data about the state of bicycling in New York that is changing daily.
    NYBC can put you in touch with your local planning organization, assist with relevant statistics, offer solutions that align with Complete Streets principles, and more.

Stronger laws for bicyclists and pedestrians benefit all of us in so many ways — whether you’re in favor of human-powered transportation  for commuting, low-carbon travel, health and fitness, or recreation, we’ve got you covered. Contact us any time at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for  even more information about what you can do to help the effort!