It is important to think of the Bike Summit not as an isolated lobbying effort, but as one big battle in the long fight to define bicycling as an important national interest that deserves equitable funding along with the other modes of transportation. The face-to-face meetings the 23 bicycle advocates from Wisconsin had with our Senators, Representatives and their staff are important parts of a longer conversation that must continue if we are going to continue to fund bicycle programs and projects. We must build on the conversations and relationships we built in D.C., and continue to make the point to our national electeds, that bicycling is a national transportation issue, just as are walking, transit, rail, highways, shipping, and air travel.
If federal funding for bicycling is not included in whatever national transportation bill comes out of Washington, we have been told by our leaders in Madison that there will be no money for bicycle projects in Wisconsin, period. Right now, Wisconsin state contributes virtually no money towards bicycle or pedestrian projects, and Madison is the only municipality that has a locally funded infrastructure program for bicycling. While the Bike Fed believes bicycling should be funded at the national level, we cannot continue to rely solely on federal funds.
We must get our state leaders in Madison and every local leader in every city, village and town in Wisconsin to understand that bicycling is a state and local transportation issue that deserves equitable funding along with the other modes of transportation. If you enjoy riding a bicycle, it is incredibly important that you continue to make the case for cycling with your national, state and locally elected officials, as well as with your family, friends and coworkers.
Our off-road trails, on-road bike lanes, as well as bicycle education and enforcement programs are just as important to invest in as their motor vehicle counterparts. Whether you ride mountain bikes, race on the road, commute to work, or enjoy recreational riding, every one of us must be an advocate for cycling or we risk losing the great bicycling opportunities we have in Wisconsin.
So while my fellow advocates and I wing our way back to Wisconsin, we hope you will join us in the fight to save bicycling. We cannot do it without your help. You are Wisconsin Bike Fed.