Ride IllinoisRide Illinois
March 25, 2021

Recap of 2021 Lobby Day

The annual National Bike Summit, hosted by the League of American Bicyclists, took place in early March. For the second year in a row, the Summit was a virtual affair, but that didn’t lessen the impact of the dozens of informative sessions that were offered to attendees from across the country.

The culmination of each National Bike Summit is Lobby Day. On March 3rd, 25 advocates from across Illinois spent the better part of their day meeting with U.S. House and Senate members from Illinois and their staff via Zoom. The Illinois delegation, which was led by state coordinators Elizabeth Adamczyk and Dave Simmons, was the 3rd largest in the nation behind only California and Texas!

The Bills

During the course of the day, advocates spoke with Senator Durbin’s office and the office of 11 House representatives about several bills that, if signed into law, will increase safety for vulnerable road users and increase funding for bike and pedestrian infrastructure at the federal level.

  • HR 463:  Transportation Alternatives Enhancement Act
  • HR 508: The SAFE Streets Act
  • S 614: Transportation Alternatives Enhancement Act
  • S 425: The Complete Streets Act of 2021

Elected Officials

The delegation appreciates the time that the elected officials and staff took to listen to our appeal. Each conversation concluded with asking the elected official for their support of these bills. While the answer to those pointed questions was often “we’ll need to learn more before committing” the response was overwhelmingly positive.

Here is a list of the offices with whom the Illinois delegation met during Lobby Day (or shortly thereafter):

  • Senator Dick Durbin
  • Rep. Bobby Rush (IL-1st District)
  • Rep. Robin Kelly (IL-2nd District)
  • Rep. Marie Newman (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. Brad Schneider (IL-10th District)
  • Rep. Mike Bost (IL-12th District)
  • Rep. Rodney Davis (IL-13th District)
  • Rep. Lauren Underwood (IL-14th District)
  • Rep. Darin LaHood (IL-18th District)
Members of the Illinois delegation during the meeting with Senator Durbin.

The Illinois Delegation

Speaking with elected officials can be a bit unnerving. As a result of the training offered by the League of American Bicyclists and the discussions the Illinois delegation had prior to Lobby Day, the conversations were meaningful and focused. Ride Illinois would like to thank the following individuals for actively participating in Lobby Day meetings:

  • Berwyn: Siouxzi Donnelly
  • Bloomington: Kellie Williams
  • Chicago: Elizabeth Adamczyk, Anne Alt, Courtney Cobbs, Shawn Conley, Kevin Dekkinga, Gillian Forsyth, Alex Perez
  • Chicago Heights: Larry Mysz
  • Downers Grove: Bill Chalberg
  • Elk Grove Village: Dave Simmons
  • Elmhurst: Kimberly Messina, Armaline Mirretti
  • Lebanon: George Fero
  • Naperville: Daryl Monge
  • Palatine: Ralph Banasiak
  • Skokie: Ben Harris, Charlie Saxe
  • Urbana: Cynthia Hoyle, Audrey Ishii, Charles Smyth, Jeff Yockey
  • Willow Springs: Gina Kenny

Reflections from Lobby Day

Ride Illinois asked those who participated in Lobby Day for their feedback, such as “On a scale of 1 (no impact) to 5 (major impact), how much of an impact do you feel our efforts on Lobby Day made?The average response was 4.1, which means it was time well-spent!

Many from the Illinois delegation were kind enough to share some reflections from their experience. Some of their reflections are as follows:

  • Kim Messina: “I was pleased to see the support Mike Quigley expressed for safer biking and walking infrastructure, and he experiences the need as well since he rides his bike to work. He is also familiar with our communities and the need for safer streets and complete streets.
  • Cynthia Hoyle: “The downstate Republican reps were receptive to our input and seemed willing to work with us. They did not commit to anything, but the door is open.
  • Ralph Banasiak: “This was the first Lobby Day for me. While I was nervous about the Zoom session, it felt great to be so prepared on the two pieces of legislation addressed with staff for Rep. Casten and Senator Durbin.
  • Kellie Williams: “Hearing from House and Senate leadership was fantastic, and Secretary Buttigieg was an unexpected bonus. Demonstrated the wide support that alternative transportation has in Congress, in some form or another. A reminder for all of us to keep in touch with our elected officials so that they hear from us beyond the one day a year.”
  • Jeff Yockey: “This is my third year, once in person and twice phone/zoom. This is important work, but not difficult – but there is a learning curve. My goal this year is to maintain the relationships we started with these congressional staff.

Next Steps and a Request

Soon, we’ll be following up with those with whom we met with during Lobby Day. The bills and topics we discussed must remain top of mind!

Ride Illinois encourages citizens from around the state to contact their elected officials to discuss the importance of safety and infrastructure in their community. We’re happy to offer our expertise prior to contacting your elected officials. Contact us at info@rideillinois.org or (630) 216-9282.

Search for your elected officials on the Illinois State Board of Elections website. Then, give them a call or send an email to voice your concerns and suggestions to improve biking and safety in your community.

Please share your experience (and the response from your elected officials) with Ride Illinois via email or phone. Together, we are making Illinois better through biking!