Bike Advocate Toolkit

My favorite color is BICYCLE. Illustration: Washington Bikes "W" bike logo image.Here in our bicycle advocate toolkit we’ll post ideas for actions you can take to grow and enhance bicycling in your community and resources you can use as a starting point. Sign up for our e-news and you’ll receive news about state and local advocacy and events.

Tell us when you take action for better bicycling so we can highlight your efforts here to inspire others. Learn from others and share your success at the annual Washington Bike Summit presented by Cascade Bicycle Club and sponsored by Washington Bikes.

Bike Month or Bike to Work Week proclamation: Ask your mayor and city council to proclaim May Bike Month in your town. Let reporters know when the proclamation will be voted on and bring people who represent all kinds of bicycling to accept the proclamation.

Bike Challenge: Start a local commute or “bike to everything” challenge. We hold the #BikeEverywhere Challenge, which you can use if your community doesn’t hold a local one. 

Organize an Open Streets or Kidical Mass event: Inspired by Ciclovia in Bogota, Colombia, Open Streets events take place all over the world. Selected streets are closed to motor vehicles and become places for people, with bicycling, walking, in-line skating, skateboarding, information tables for community organizations, small vendors, food carts — they’re a ton of fun and change the view of the street in ways that can be profound.

Kidical Mass rides don’t involve closing the streets; organize a start/end point and invite families to show up.

Talk to elected officials or, better yet, take them on a bike ride: When the state legislature is in session we will post action alerts on our Advocacy page with an email tool to make it easy to contact them about current legislation (examples of past action alerts). Sign our petition asking them to invest in safer streets and complete bike networks.

If you have specific local projects that need funding, a ribbon-cutting for a new stretch of trial, or safety issues you want to highlight, a policy ride makes for a great event. We can help you with suggestions for organizing and promoting.

Examples of policy rides:

Start a petition for a local trail or other issue: We can work with you on the wording and help you set up a form like the petition we did for Spokane when the bicycle/pedestrian coordinator position was eliminated. Our goal is to make your local action a tool for a constructive dialogue that moves bicycling forward. Names represent taxpayers, voters and constituents and can inspire action from staff and elected officials. (And those names become the genesis of the local advocacy group you’ll end up forming.)

Start or serve on your local Bicycle Advisory Board: If your town isn’t on our list of towns with an advisory board (sometimes a BAB, sometimes a Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Board), ask your city to create one. This provides you with an official mechanism for advising the city on policies and practices.

Best practices for bicycle pedestrian advisory boards (PDF) from Advocacy Advance, a partnership of the League of American Bicyclists and the Alliance for Biking and Walking

Start a local advocacy group: If your town doesn’t have a local advocacy effort, talk to us about how you can start one.

Serve as a Local Spoke for Washington Bikes: We’re looking for people who serve as the local contact to keep us in touch with issues, projects, and opportunities to improve bicycling. You might blog about what’s happening for biking in your town, attend local meetings, or staff a table for us at a community event — it’s up to you. Contact Barb Chamberlain if you’re interested.

Get your city to adopt or update a bike master plan: Check our list of bike master plans in Washington state.

If your town isn’t listed, ask your local planning department if a plan exists (and let us know so we can update our page). Washington state counties are required to have a comprehensive plan that must include transportation and are entering on a cycle of required updates over the next few years.

If your town has a plan, review it and ask the timeline for comments and updates.

Get involved in local planning to ensure that the voices of people who ride are heard and included.

Get your city to adopt a Complete Streets ordinance. The Municipal Research and Services Center provides model Complete Streets ordinance language and a list of cities/towns that have such an ordinance.

Let your city council members and city staff know that with this ordinance in place your town is eligible to apply to the Complete Streets grant program. WA Bikes worked for creation of the program and then for funding, which it received in the transportation revenue package adopted in 2015.

Bicycle Friendly Community: Apply for Bicycle Friendly Community status with the League of American Bicyclists. We’ll add you to our Bike-Friendly Washington page and run a story on what’s happening in your town to make it bike-friendly. You’ll want to establish a Bicycle Advisory Board if you don’t already have one to strengthen your application.

What should we add to this page? Email Barb Chamberlain with your questions and ideas.

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