Thursday, January 15, 2009

House Minority Leader Is Anti-Bicycle and Against People Who Walk

This has been making the rounds like wildfire via e-mail today; we figured we'd help pass it on...

Each year the bicycle/pedestrian community gathers in Washington, DC to share ideas and to speak with our Federal elected officials. A number of citizens from Ohio have made this trek and have tried for years to get an appointment with someone from Congressman John Boehner’s office. Neither the Congressman nor his staff has agreed to meet with their fellow Ohioans and constituents. Because he is the House Minority Leader, Representative Boehner is the second highest-ranking member of the U.S. Congress, and every American who walks or rides a bicycle is affected by his opinions.

On Sunday’s Meet the Press program, the Congressman’s anti-bicycle and anti-pedestrian stance became more public when he said “I think there’s a place for infrastructure. But what kind of infrastructure? Infrastructure to widen highways to ease congestion for American families? But if we’re talking about beautification projects or we’re talking about bike paths, Americans are not going to look very kindly on this.”

Apparently, the congressman believes urban sprawl is the answer. In his mind smog, pollution and asthma must be good things. In addition, he apparently:

  • Ignores the numerous studies documenting that the overwhelming majority of Americans favor more bike paths
  • Is ignorant of the obesity epidemic that causes diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and dozens of other chronic illnesses which are killing us and crippling our healthcare system
  • Does not understand that bicycling, walking, and other non-automobile methods are valid transportation for people
  • Cares nothing about the 33% of Americans who do not drive due to age, personal circumstances, physical impairment, or poverty
  • Is not aware of the significant economic benefit that walkable / bikeable neighborhoods create or that more people walking and biking foster safer, more vibrant communities
  • Fails to appreciate that the Cincinnati/Dayton area benefits from over 200 miles of multi-use paths that are shared by cyclists, walkers, joggers, families, seniors, and others
  • Is unaware that two of the country’s Top 100 bicycle retailers are located in Cincinnati/Dayton
  • Does not know that the Cincinnati/Dayton area is home of Ohio’s two largest bicycle clubs and numerous walking groups
  • Does not care that the Ohio Bicycle Federation is headquartered in Dayton

Whether you are a seasoned bicycle commuter who doesn’t use bike paths, or an occasional rider who is intimidated by riding on streets, anyone who rides a bicycle or walks should take issue with his comments, the insulting tone in his voice, and his anti-bicycle / anti-pedestrian stance. His stance endangers not just bike paths, but also other projects, such as crosswalk improvements, better signage, new striping and sharrows, education programs, bicycle parking improvements, and multi-use paths.

With massive transportation and roadway projects expected soon, we need to remind our elected officials that streets, transportation systems, and infrastructure should include ALL users, not only cars and trucks.

The most effective communication tool in this case is the fax machine (they are inundated by e-mails and sending regular mail can take weeks to clear security). You can send a detailed letter or you can send a simple handwritten note such as “I Bike and I Vote!”

Here are the congressman’s fax numbers:

  • 202-225-0704 (Washington, DC office)
  • 513-779-5315 (local office #1)
  • 937-339-1878 (local office #2)

To send a message to any other elected official, their contact info can be found on Please also consider forwarding this e-mail to people you care about who ride a bicycle or walk.

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