Advocacy: the act or process of advocating or supporting a cause or proposal
Here is a simple proposal, as to the best way to be an effective advocate for cycling. The goal is to increase the number of cyclists and to change the perception of cycling from a recreational activity to being a mainstream activity, such that anytime there is a political decision that relates to cycling the decision makers are cyclists, know cyclist, have constituents that are cyclists. It won’t be magic it won’t be overnight, but it will work
1) Ride your bike, lots. Not just on trails, training or recreational. Commute, even if it is one day a week or one way once a week. Use your bike (get a clunker if needed) for errands and utillity runs, anything under 2 miles one way or 5 pounds and you would be amazed at how little you need to use your car. Ride with your kids, ride with friends, ride, ride, ride Ride in your kit, ride in normal clothes.
2) Be visible and positive, part of this is riding, part of this is lights and reflectors, part of this is participation in the political process , part of this is talking to your co workers, friends, neighbors, etc. about cycling
3) Follow traffic laws (at least pretty closely)...no running red lights, period. Stop at signs, or at least slow almost to a stop and really stop if another vehicle has the right of way. This means for all rides, including Critical mass, fast training rides, etc..
4) Help and encourage others to ride. Help a neighbor fix their old bike….show someone how to change a flat . Offer to commute with someone not comfortable riding off the sidewalk.
5) Wear a helmet. There is no real downside (except for bad hair ) and there is upside in many accidents. It shows responsibility (and if your kids wear helmets…so should you). And for all the arguments about helmets .please go to the helmets cramp my style thread.
6) Ride and act with courtesy, but assert your right on the road.
7) Quit whining about what an oppressed minority we are and why drivers should follow laws but we shouldn’t. Bottom line is drivers are the majority…..the only way to change is to get more cyclists out there.
If in doubt go back to number 1….Ride and be counted