Advocacy Through Fresh Eyes

Bicycle Alliance member Kristi Moen attended her first Transportation Advocacy Day this year.  She shares her impressions of the event in this guest blog post.
Advocates on Capitol campus.

Be pleasant, be friendly, smile. That was the number one tip for successfully advocating in Olympia. The advice was offered to those who converged at the state’s capitol on February 10 in support of Transportation Advocacy Day. As it turned out, the advice was excellent. Being kind helps lawmakers better understand our viewpoints and relate to the issues on the table.

And as it turns out, you also have to be fast. The meetings with our legislators and our senator were only 15 minutes long. But that was long enough to understand where they stand on the bills in work this session and to explain why supporting them is good for the constituents.
Key issues were:
  • Emergency transit funding for public transportation that cannot sustain their current funding in the short run because of the economy (HB1536 and SB5457)
  • Kickoff and awareness of a new campaign called Transportation for Washington that will address specific initiatives (find out more at
  • Bills sponsored by Washington Bikes and Cascade Bicycle Club that will increase safety for cyclists and pedestrians:
    • Washington Vulnerable Users Law (SB 5326, HB1339)
    • Complete Streets for Washington (SHB 1071)
    • Traffic Safety Education (HB1129)

The bills sponsored by BAW will not cost the state a penny, yet will substantially improve the safety for pedestrians and cyclists.

Kristi (L) meets with Rep. Eileen Cody (C).

The day was not just about cycling. Groups from pedestrian, environmental, public transportation advocacy, parks and health organizations were among the nearly 20 participating sponsors. And yes, I mentioned “health.” That was the first time I had equated health to cycling advocacy. I understand the connection and consciously benefit from it – health benefits are part of the reason why I cycle. But bringing health to the forefront for legislators to consider while thinking about bike trails, bike lanes, safe pedestrian routes and linking up public transportation was a bit of an epiphany for me. In a meeting, our legislator from the 34th district said, “She’s speaking my language,” when someone in our group brought up the health benefits of cycling. Aha! Each lawmaker has passions that will sway them. It’s our job as advocates to find those passions.

Of course, key players brought up the usual arguments for better transportation and cycling laws including sustainability, connectivity, green house gas reduction and safety. Any of those could stand on their own as valid reasons for our lawmakers to better support cycling.
Transportation is an investment into a stronger future. Even those who never touch a bike, who only drive, will benefit. Call your legislator to let them know how you feel. And be kind. You might just be the one who tips the scale.
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