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Getting in the Race: An Advocate’s Guide to Elections

10/8/2012 3:39:48 PM

Tags: bikeability, walkability, bicycle advocacy, election cycle, non-profits and government

This article is posted with permission from League of American Bicyclists 

Vote for Biking There’s a reason hundreds of bicycle advocates flock to Washington, D.C., each year for the National Bike Summit. Regardless of political persuasion, we all recognize that we need bicycle-friendly leaders to build a bicycle-friendly America. 

Still, there’s often the misconception that, as members or leaders of bicycle clubs and nonprofits, advocates are limited in how they can get engaged in local, state and federal elections. Yes, there are rules to follow, but there are many effective ways bicyclists can educate and engage candidates on important transportation issues. 

To make sure you know how to make bicycling a part of the political dialogue in your community, Darren Flusche, the League’s Policy Director, compiled “An Advocate’s Guide to Elections: Making Campaigns Work for Bicycling & Walking.” 

The latest report from Advocacy Advance — a partnership of the League and Alliance for Biking & Walking — uses clear explanations and real-world examples to highlight best practices for 501(c)(3) nonprofits, 501(c)4 organizations and even individual bicyclists. 

“Elections matter,” Flusche writes. “During the election cycle, campaigns give bicycling and walking advocacy organizations the opportunity to educate candidates on bicycling issues, increase the focus on bicycling and walking issues in campaigns, and ultimately build a more bicycle-friendly America.” 

“These activities make a difference,” he continues. “For instance, Bike Delaware  used a candidate survey to gauge support for a funding initiative that resulted in $20 million in state funds for a statewide bicycling and walking network. This guide includes insight and examples from Bike Delaware’s survey — and much more.” 

To provide clarity and inspiration for bicycle advocates, the report provides: 

  • Guidelines for what 501(c)(3) nonprofits can and cannot do 
  • Explanation of 501(c)(4)s and their activities 
  • Bike/ped examples of  
    • Candidate surveys 
    • Candidate forums 
    • Legislative scorecards 
    • Show Me Events, and more 

Making cycling safe and comfortable in your community starts with educating and engaging candidates running for office at all levels of government. Read this report, whether you’re a nonprofit leader or individual cyclist, and get involved during this important election season. 

Questions about the election guide? Contact Darren at 


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