Safe Routes Scoop

NJ Bicycle and Pedestrian Advocacy

health workers, planners, and environmentalists, as well as with bicycle advocates, to better campaign for pedestrian rights and access.

 

What Do Advocacy Groups Do? Government-sponsored groups usually take the form of statewide bicycle and pedestrian advisory groups. These groups are typically formed at the request of the governor or the statewide transportation agency and provide a variety of services to their sponsor–from advising on projects, programs, and policies, to creating educational materials, to funneling new and innovative program ideas. Membership is typically composed of stakeholders from the bicycle and pedestrian world, state agency representatives, and/or local advocates or planners from regional, county or local government.

 

Independent advocacy groups determine their own scope of work, as they typically perform a variety of services to promote bicycle and pedestrian issues. Some are politically active and will petition the government for changes in policy and law, and promote the construction of facilities. Outreach to elected officials can include letters, petitions, phone calls, emails and personal conversations. These groups might also work on developing relationships with various government entities, such as law enforcement, transit agencies, and departments of

transportation, public works, and parks and recreation. Another direct form of communication can include writing letters and opinion pieces for newspapers, or maintaining blogs where issues can be discussed with input from the public. These advocates may also issue press releases, hold press conferences and stage public events or protests.

 

National independent advocacy groups, such as The National Center for Bicycling and Walking (NCBW), have helped build and broaden the bicycle and pedestrian advocacy movement. NCBW is the host of the Pro-Walk/Pro-Bike conference, a major bi-annual North American event that attracts advocates, government planners, consultants, and public health officials. NCBW provides an array of resources on its website, http://www.bikewalk.org/, and has worked with the public health community to understand and become involved in transportation planning.

 

Other independent groups, usually recreational clubs, may be interested in promoting bicycling and walking simply by organizing bicycle rides or walks for recreational purposes. Through these public-oriented events, people are encouraged, particularly novice cyclists, to learn to see bicycling and walking as legitimate, practical, healthy and, most of all, fun forms of transportation.

 

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