Your support matters: the Iowa County story

Advocacy in Action

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A few weeks ago, the Iowa County Transportation Committee proposed an ordinance strictly regulating organized bicycle and motorcycle rides in Iowa County. This ordinance could have meant the end of some of Wisconsin’s favorite organized rides in the Driftless region, including GRABAAWR, the Dairyland Dare and the Horribly Hilly Hundreds, as well as smaller organized club rides.

When the Wisconsin Bike Fed staff and I learned of this ordinance we immediately got to work to bring our cycling community together to protect our rights as cyclists. Action Alerts were spread to our networks through email and social media. Letters were written, calls were made, and our media connections were utilized.

You, our advocates, responded. On the night of the hearing for the ordinance, over a hundred advocates from all over the region packed the meeting, so many that the committee had to change locations to accommodate the unexpectedly large audience. Tom Klein, Bike Fed’s Dane County Regional Director, testified against the ordinance alongside small business owners, local motorcycle clubs, and avid cyclists from across the area. The committee heard how this ordinance would have a long-term negative impact, not just on bicycling in Iowa County, but also on the local economy. Bicycle ride organizers made it clear that this ordinance would either force them to move their rides elsewhere, or continue to produce them but limit their numbers and their immense economic impact on the community.

The committee, after hearing this compelling testimony, noted for the record that they had received an overwhelming 250 emails in support of cycling from concerned constituents like you. The end result was a motion to send the ordinance to a sub-committee, effectively stopping it in its tracks. We won this round for bicycling. But it’s not over. Now we’ll engage with the sub-comittee to help address any legitimate concerns they might have, but do it in a way that’s a win-win for cycling and for the county.

Our success means your investment in the Wisconsin Bike Fed is powerful. But we aren’t stopping there. We continue to remain vigilant, not only on this issue, but in all of our work to build a better, more bike-friendly Wisconsin.

Protecting Vulnerable Users


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About Dave Cieslewicz, Director Emeritus

Dave Cieslewicz served two terms as mayor of Madison where he set the city on a path for Platinum status as one of the best biking cities in North America. Before that he started his own nonprofit, 1000 Friends of Wisconsin, which focuses on land use and transportation policy. He has been an adjunct professor at the UW Madison's Department of Urban and Regional Planning where he teaches a class called Bikes, Pedestrians and Cities. He pronounces his name chess LEV ich, but nobody else does.

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