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April 02, 2024

2024 National Bike Summit Recap

The 2024 National Bike Summit was an opportunity for bicycle advocates from across the country to meet, collaborate, and re-energize. League of American Bicyclists hosted the annual event which included informative breakout sessions, inspirational keynote speakers, interesting mobile tours, and entertaining social rides.

Illinois was well-represented at the 2024 National Bike Summit, including Ride Illinois Executive Director, Dave Simmons. A dozen more Illinois residents traveled to Washington D.C. for the in-person event and workshops. In addition, several Illinois residents joined the virtual Summit from home. Thanks to all who attended in-person and virtually!

Main Takeaways

There is a fair amount of overlap in bicycle advocacy priorities at the federal, state, and local level. Funding for bike/ped infrastructure, increased safety for vulnerable road users (VRUs), and encouraging people of all walks of like to use bicycles for some of their regular trips were common themes during the Summit.

Knowledge of legislation and awareness of priorities at the federal level is critical to Ride Illinois’ continued work at the state level. At the same time, it’s important for individuals to be aware of what’s happening in Washington D.C. and Springfield so they can push for positive change in their community. Most advocates are well aware that positive change takes time, patience, and persistence. This reality was top of mind during the National Bike Summit, but it didn’t deter attendees from making an impact during their time in the nation’s capital.

One plenary session included advice from advocrats (advocates in bureaucratic roles)

Lobby Day Asks

The theme of the 2024 National Bike Summit was 'Slow Roads'

The most impactful day at the National Bike Summit is Lobby Day – a day spent meeting with members of Congress (or their staff) to discuss key federal legislation related to safety, infrastructure, and education. League of American Bicyclists identified the following priorities that the Illinois delegation advocated for during Lobby Day meetings:

  • Sarah Debbink Langenkamp Active Transportation Safety Act (HR1668 and S3964): this bill highlights the need to fill gaps in biking and walking networks and makes it easier for states and local governments to use Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) dollars as a “local match” to build safe bicycling and pedestrian infrastructure through HSIP and the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP).
  • The Complete Streets Act of 2024 (HR7082 and S3670): this bill directs states to set aside five percent (5%) of highway funding to create and implement a Complete Streets grant program, for which local governments will be eligible to apply. It also Requires the Federal Highway Administration to provide guidance to states on creating Complete Streets standards for local projects.
  • Biking Instruction, Knowledge, and Education (BIKE) Act (HR7842): this bill specifies in-school, on bicycle education programs in elementary and secondary schools as eligible for Highway Safety Grants targeted to decreasing non-motorized road user fatalities involving motor vehicles. It also directs the Secretary of Transportation to update and disseminate curriculum for in school on bike education.
  • Major Taylor Congressional Gold Medal Act (HR6672) was also discussed when time allowed. This bill strives to award a Congressional Gold Medal posthumously to Marshall Walter “Major” Taylor in recognition of his significance to the nation as an athlete, trailblazer, role model, and equal rights advocate.

Be sure to check out Ride Illinois’ State and Federal Bicycle Bill Tracker for information about bills related to bicycling, safety and infrastructure.

Meetings with Elected Officials

The Illinois delegation met with Congressman Darin LaHood (IL-16) on Lobby Day

The Illinois delegation appreciates the time that the elected officials and staff took to listen to our concerns. During each meeting, elected officials were asked to co-sponsor the priority bills. While the answer to those pointed questions was often “we’ll need to learn more before committing”, some Illinois members of Congress were or have since become co-sponsors. Below is a list of the offices with whom the Illinois delegation met during Lobby Day:

  • Senator Tammy Duckworth
  • Rep. Jonathan Jackson (IL-1st District)
  • Rep. Delia Ramirez (IL-3rd District)
  • Rep. Mike Quigley (IL-5th District)
  • Rep. Sean Casten (IL-6th District)
  • Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL-8th District)
  • Rep. Jan Schakowsky (IL-9th District)
  • Rep. Nikki Budzinski (IL-13th District)
  • Rep. Darin LaHood (IL-16th District)

Illinois Delegation

Most of the Illinois delegation at the 2024 National Bike Summit

Most individuals don’t speak with members of Congress on a regular basis, if ever. The training provided by the League of American Bicyclists and the planning meetings held in advance prepared the Illinois delegation for Lobby Day meetings.

The coordination efforts from state coordinators (Armaline Mirretti, Elizabeth Adamczyk, and Kim Messina) resulted in nine meaningful meetings with elected officials. The time and energy state coordinators put forth in preparation for Lobby Day is appreciated!

The following Illinoisans actively participated in Lobby Day meetings:

  • Rob Cappucci
  • Bill Chalberg
  • Max Chilsen
  • Kevin Dekkinga
  • Brenda Dixon
  • Rudy Faust
  • Bill Gaston
  • Nate Hutcheson
  • Kim Messina
  • Armaline Mirretti
  • Randy Neufeld
  • Dave Simmons
  • Jennifer Smith

Next Steps

Follow-up messages have already been sent to the individuals who met with the Illinois delegation on Lobby Day. The requests remain the same: please co-sponsor the important bills that were discussed during our meeting in Washington D.C. We’ll be regularly reaching out to members of Congress to increase the number of co-sponsors on the priority bills.

In addition, Ride Illinois will be sharing Action Alerts with an invitation to Illinois residents to contact Senator Duckworth, Senator Durbin, and their representative with a request to co-sponsor legislation. But there’s no need to wait for the Action Alerts! Search for your elected officials’ contact info on the Illinois State Board of Elections website. Call or send an email to voice your concerns and suggestions to improve biking and safety in your community.

Ride Illinois encourages residents from around the state to contact their elected officials to discuss safety, infrastructure, and education as they relate to bicycling. We’re happy to offer our expertise prior to your outreach. We can be reached at info@rideillinois.org or (630) 216-9282.

The Summit provided an opportunity to meet with the next generation of leaders