Advocacy: Your Story Matters

Filed Under: Advocacy & Policy, Funding, Infrastructure, Local Communities, Multi-modal Travel, NYBC Activities
Post By: justinsmith
Posted On: February 2, 2016


That’s right. YOU make the difference.

Facts and figures are fantastic, but they often fail miserably at conveying the human element and the realities we all live. What each of us experience while walking and riding our bikes for everyday trips, exercise, and recreation, matters.

NY4AT advocates meet with Assemblyman Phil Steck

NYBC and their associate advocates meeting with Assemblyman Steck

Sharing your story with legislators is essential to helping them better understand why more funding is needed to make communities across New York into safer, more accessible, and enjoyable places to bike and walk.

That’s right. Your legislators want to know that you care and are affected by a lack of bike lanes, trails, sidewalks, bike racks, and much more.

Because YOU and what you experience matters.

  • When you’re afraid of walking across an intersection to get groceries, it matters.
  • When your children can’t walk or bike a mile to school, because of high-speed roads with no protected bike lanes and nonexistent sidewalks, it matters.
  • When you get harassed and forced off of the road while riding your bike to work, it matters.
  • When you and your family don’t feel safe riding your bikes in your community, it matters.

Whether it’s two sentences, or a novel, please take at least a minute or two to share your story in the form below. We need YOUR help to win the funding that’s needed to invest in biking and walking projects across the state.

Some of the stories we’ve received so far are listed below this form. We hope they’ll provide you with some inspiration to share your story.

What others are saying:

Rob Bengston from Huntington writes:

“I am almost 60 years old and I got “back” into biking 6 years ago. I am in better shape and physical condition today than I was at 40 because of bike riding. I am a distance road biker and we need better, safer roads for bicycles. That’s why I support funding for projects!”

Jesse Peers from Rochester writes:

“A couple years ago our family went from being a two car family to a one car family. Our finances have been freed up and our student loans should disappear this year. We’re using public transportation and bicycling regularly. We’re healthier and have gotten to know the nooks & crannies of our beautiful city. Bicycling is freedom. And I can attest that the money saved from going from two cars to one goes into the local economy: Minor League Baseball games, charities, support to local non-profits, shopping, etc. Build bike lanes and they will be used. The cost is so cheap compared to roads, bridges and highways. Please ensure our region gets better bike infrastructure. Thanks!”

Andy Rosevear from Buffalo

“Bikes are hugely important in my daily life. I can get just about anywhere in any weather- reliably, safely, quickly, and cheaply. It gives me greater opportunity to see my city and talk with my neighbors, which is too often ignored when driving. We need more people riding and walking to strengthen our communities, and I believe the best way to do that is by funding high quality projects to make these modes of transportation easy, safe, and accessible for more people, while slowing down traffic and discouraging unnecessary car use.”

Kathryn S. Downing from Syracuse writes:

“We need streets built for moving people, whether they walk, ride a bike, or drive a car. Many people have no choice but to walk, ride a bike, or take a bus. Many others would benefit greatly if they could live car-free or car-light. The problem is, our streets are built for driving. There are so many places within Syracuse, not to mention beyond, that are very difficult or dangerous, or even impossible, to get to unless you drive. Yes, we have a network of bikeways. But it’s still pretty small, not growing very fast, and the design quality is very uneven. And it’s disconnected. If you want to get from one point to another, often you only benefit little if at all from bicycle-friendly infrastructure, and you are left to deal with infrastructure built for cars. While we have lots of sidewalks for walking, there are notable gaps. But the biggest challenge I usually face and observe others face while walking is crossing streets and roads. There just aren’t enough marked crosswalks or pedestrian-friendly traffic signals or other helpful infrastructure. I’m almost 62 years old. I live in Syracuse. I’ve lived here for more than 30 years, raised my children here, and now 8 of my 12 grandchildren live here. That’s my primary incentive for staying here. Otherwise, I could move back to Portland, Oregon where I grew up and live in a much less car-centric place. I rediscovered walking and riding my bicycle several years ago. I discovered both activities make me feel really good. But especially riding my bike. It is fun. I’m in better health now than I was 10 years ago because of it. It saved my mental health when I had a really stressful job. Riding my bike to work, to go shopping, to run a myriad of errands, and for other purposes saves me money. And makes me feel good. Combining it with public transit extends how far I can travel without my car. I still have a car. But it’s 16 years old, not likely to last too much longer, and I will not have the means to buy another one. In theory, I’m fine with that. I much prefer riding my bike and walking whenever I can. I’m fine with taking the bus, and only wish it provided the level of service I have experienced in other cities I’ve lived in. The looming problem for me, as expressed above, is the car-centric infrastructure here in Syracuse and Central New York. These streets are built for driving. I need them to be built for walking and riding a bike. It can be that way. These streets can be built for all modes of transportation. It’s a matter of priority. I see people every day who choose to walk or ride a bike to get from one place to another; for others, it’s pretty apparent that they have no other choice. For example, I see mothers with small children and babies crossing dangerous roads in bad weather without benefit of helpful traffic lights, the stroller holding groceries as well as children. Are we going to have infrastructure to help her and her children be safe, and to help me be safe, or are we going to continue to make it as easy as possible to drive a car?”

Thank you for sharing your stories!