Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Call to Action!

Let's join San Fran, DC, NYC, Portland and other cities and declare our independence from oil by riding our bicycles, carpooling, or walking to destinations that you ordinarily would drive to. I know many of you who read this blog probably already do so but there are some of you who do not. Half the trips in this country are less than two miles which is easy to ride or walk. Seth and I can attest to that. This past weekend, we walked more than two miles (one-way) to and from ACL is the dead heat of the day and even when we were dog tired after being at the concert for 8-10 hours each day. But we did it, and it felt good to do so. Unfortunately we had to drive a couple of miles in order to walk because of the network of interstates near our home. It simply isn't safe to walk or ride our bicycle. Even if you don't want to give up your car altogether because of health reasons, weather, or out of fear for your safety, you can still do your part by contacting your local government, state senators/reps, and most importantly, your US senators. Push them for federal support!

Find out more about the nationwide Independence from Foreign Oil Day, Gas-Free Fridays and what your community is doing to reduce their dependence. You will find yourself becoming more impassioned. Now more than ever is the time to push our legislators to go green and put their talk into action. We need safer bicycle networks, bike-to-transit facilities, and public bicycle-share programs similar to European programs. For more inspiration, check out Copenhagen Cycle Chic and Amsterdamize.

And for you Texans, I got all the information that you need to send a letter or email to Senator John Cornyn and Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson. Click on their name for an online form, cut and paste the following message (personalize please), sign your name, and submit.


Dear Senator,

I am one of the growing number of Americans doing my part to lessen our nation's overdependence on oil. For more than three years, my household has had only one car. We ride our bicycles regularly for transportation as well as use public transportation or carpooling. Consequently, I am proud that our choice to do has reduced our gas usage and my overall impact on the environment. However, we have just recently moved to Austin, Texas from Boston, Massachusetts where there is less public transportation options and where we are increasingly pressured to purchase another car because riding to work is not feasible given the network of interstates, high traffic and lack of bicycle lanes.

Moreover, half of all driving trips in our country are less than two miles in length and could easily be done on a bicycle. When considering such a statistic, it seems silly to drive such a short distance when one can choose a gas-free option and most likely get there faster considering traffic. Now more than ever, Americans deserve affordable transportation options. And, there has never been a better time to support bicycling and a greener future. Americans also deserve a safer bicycle commute with the addition of bicycle lanes, safety awareness programs, and incentives for companies to encourage their employees to commute via bicycle, carpooling, and other alternative transportation.

As a national leader, I urge you to do your part by supporting bicycling as transportation at the federal level. You will have many opportunities in the coming year to boost healthy, sustainable transportation, particularly by allocating greater and more direct funding to our nation's most populous cities (including Dallas and Houston), allowing them to invest in safe bicycle networks, bike-to-transit facilities, and public bicycle-share programs.

The 9,000-member San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, along with other national advocacy groups launched a summertime call for "Gas-Free Fridays" starting on July 4th -- Independence from Oil Day – and continuing through the fall. Accordingly, I along with other Americans have pledged to take even more gas-free trips.

I hope you will support our patriotic and healthy cause by strengthening your support of bicycling for transportation.

Thank you for your consideration,