How to Start a Local Cycling Club

From TheExaminer.com about how a Tampa, FL resident got the ball rolling to encourage local officials and transportation planners to recognize the need for safe places to ride, as well as getting citizen cyclists active in promoting these interests:

– use your local homeowner and civic association web sites and newsletters to get the word out about whether there is an interest in cycling in your neighborhood.

– have an organizing meeting within a month after the responses come in so you tap into the excitement and interest.

– form a core committee of doers, those people willing to take action and not just talk about forming a local bicycle club.

In this case, they formed the Seminole Heights Bicycle Club. The post from Alan didn’t have much of a followup to see what happened after the initial rides, so I contacted him to see what happened next.  Read “more” if you’re interested…

My questions:  After you formed the club, what actions did you take to get the attention of the local officials and transportation planners?  What was their response?

Here’s Alan’s response, via email:

“Our bike club is still rather young and our members are still trying to figure out how activist our club wants to be.

On our club’s inaugural bike ride earlier this year, the mayor of Tampa joined us and made a public comment to all of us during a ride break (one of our members even videotaped the mayor’s comments) that she would work to get a bike lane on a road that leads into downtown Tampa.
 
Just a few months ago I got an email from city of Tampa public works that it’s not feasible to put in that bike lane, which was very disappointing in light of the mayor’s promise for the bike lane.
 
Generally speaking, the public works transportation staffers in the city of Tampa are not responsive to bicyclists’ needs. One traffic engineer actually told me it’s not illegal to bike on sidewalks and another complained to me about bicyclists going through red lights in Tampa.
 
In contrast, the city of St. Petersburg across the Bay is light years ahead of Tampa and as a result has eaten Tampa’s lunch in terms of making its city downtown a vibrant hib for pedestrians and bicyclists alike. The St. Petersburg mayor’s goal is make the city of St. Pete the best city in the southeast United States in terms of a bike-lane network. It’s already light years ahead of Tampa.”
Thanks Alan, and please keep us posted.  Any other success stories from local clubs out there?  Share your tips, hints and tactics and we’ll post ‘em.

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