We envision a state where people of all ages see bicycling as an enjoyable, practical and safe activity and transportation option, and where drivers of motor vehicles respect and appreciate bicyclists who use its roadways.

We inspire and support people and communities to enjoy greater freedom and well being through bicycling.

Strength lies in numbers and every voice counts towards making Florida a bicycle-friendly community. Better bicycling means a better Florida.

FLORIDA'S NATIONALLY RENOWNED TRAILS PROGRAM THREATENED. ACT NOW!

I'm shocked at the irony, and hope you are too.

Within weeks of the Florida Governor's office proclaiming March as Bicycle Month and celebrating our trail victories, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) announced devastating cuts to the Office of Greenways and Trails (OGT), effectively eliminating this nationally renowned program.

Act now to protect Florida's greenways and trails.

These cuts are excessive and disproportionate to FDEP's other proposed cuts. While other FDEP program budgets are being cut 20 percent, this proposal would, among other things, eliminate more than 80 percent of OGT's Tallahassee staff! In addition to rolling back the pro-trail clock 10 years, this measure risks nearly $50 million in hard-earned development money for Florida's future trails.

RTC understands that cuts are required, and should be fairly distributed. However, the OGT program reduces our dependence on oil, improves health, betters our environment and strengthens our communities. Eliminating it does far more harm than good, and for generations to come.

Please speak up for trails now.

Thank you.

Ken Bryan, Florida State Director
Rails-to-Trails Conservancy

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IT'S NOT TOO LATE TO REGISTER FOR FLORIDA BIKE SUMMIT

There's still time to register for the Florida Bike Summit to be held next Thursday, April 2, from 10:00-11:30 in Tallahassee at the Capitol Courtyard. Keep your fingers crossed for Governor Charlie Crist's address to more than 250 enthusiast cyclists, many of which will be participating in the 16th Annual Bike Florida "Capitol Tour" taking place March 29 through April 4.

FBA would like to thank those of you who have already registered. We're counting on you to meet with your elected officials in order to help move forward FBA's legislative vision, a vision we believe will benefit all Floridians, part-time residents, and our state's visitors.

Later today on our website you'll find key points to discuss, a brief history of bicycling advocacy in Florida, and a meeting request sample/template letter to schedule a meeting with your legislators. It is up to you to schedule a meeting. If you don't know your district or legislators, go HERE. It is appropriate to email or fax a meeting request and then follow up by phone if you don't receive a response in a day or two. Along with the website resources, the following tips are useful:

Arrive no later than 10:00 am. Visit the registration table for meeting packets, name tag, bicycle pins (for you and your legislators), and other goodies.

Please dress in business attire if you plan to meet with legislators. If you are using your bike as transportation to the Capitol something a bit less formal may be necessary, but please don't wear cleats or form-fitting bike clothing (or shorts). We've been told by many in the know that a professional appearance is imperative when meeting with elected officials and their staff. If you don't plan on meeting with legislators, bike attire is fine.

Secure bike parking as part of the courtyard event is available only until 11:30am. The bike corral will be dismantled at noon. For those on bikes you may want to schedule meetings for 11:00 or 11:15 (meetings should last only 15 minutes). For all others the late morning and entire afternoon should be considered for meetings. For those attending from the same area represented by the same legislator(s) you can make one appointment and go together. We also suggest attempting to schedule meetings with key committee members, even if they aren't your representative or senator. Background information to help identify those officials will be forwarded to registered participants.

In all cases it's a good idea to do some homework on the legislators you'll be visting. MyFlorida.com is the place to start or HERE. And if you're not able to schedule a meeting, it is acceptable to drop by the office and leave a packet of information for the legislator or his/her staff. Feedback forms will be provided to document your meetings. Please return a copy to FBA so we can tally the visits and provide appropriate follow up.