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Well, that is it. I want better roads, more safe roads, better maintained roads to bicyclists so I am looking for bicycle-politized groups or advocate groups around the world. I believe they may have done a lot of pioneering work about bicycling like in the safety -issue. So do not let the word politics stray you, I am also interested in their research and material/projects they may have.

The question is general, I am not limiting this answer to any specific country.

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You want a list of every bicycle-politized groups in the world?? Probably every Local Bike Store, to begin with. For example, the first entry of 900,000 results for google.ca/#q=toronto+bicycle+political was curbside.on.ca/blog/archives/937 Perhaps more practical than political is what has already been done (instead of what hasn't been done and is still being advocated for), for example toronto.ca/cycling –  ChrisW Feb 19 '11 at 5:06
    
@freiheit: could this question fit to community wiki? It is a bit hard to say which answer is the best. –  user652 Feb 22 '11 at 16:26

6 Answers 6

up vote 3 down vote accepted

On a global level, there are two different takes on whether helmets should be illegal, or recommended at all, and what effect that has on bicycling in the community.

Personally, I started wearing a helmet when my first kid was born seven years ago, but find the discussion very interesting.

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+1 - Looking at the first link, wow! I hadn't realized that, with the 'net, an advocacy group can adocate globally simply by publishing a supposedly-informative web site. –  ChrisW Feb 19 '11 at 13:47

I don't know of any truly worldwide organizations of that type, and doubt any are out there. I believe you'll have an easier time finding a local organization. I believe a local organization is also going to be more effective at achieving the goals you mention.

Bicycle advocacy of getting better infrastructure (roads, paths, lanes, etc) will have to be focused on the government agencies responsible for constructing and maintaining that infrastructure. Laws about bicycles are an important aspect, too. Cities, counties, states, provinces and countries are responsible for roads and laws, not international/worldwide organizations.

For example, I live in California, in a city about 50 miles from San Francisco. There's a local county-wide organization (bicycle coalition) that works with the county-wide government and the governments of many of the cities inside the county. That county bicycle coalition is affiliated with an organization that covers the whole San Francisco bay area and deals primarily with programs that cover that whole area. Then there is a California-wide coalition. And there are several US-wide national organizations, with one (the League of American Bicyclists) that they all seem to work with somewhat.

There are also organizations that advocate for non-automobile ("alternative") transportation, for pedestrians, for public transportation, for less fossil-fuel usage, etc. Some of those are focused specifically on their particular issue, but many include some amount of bicycle advocacy, too.

  • League of American Bicyclists (nation-wide US organization) has list of international and US nationwide organizations on their website.
  • Ask at your LBS like @ChrisW says above. The bike shop is likely to be a member of at least one advocacy organization, since better bicycle infrastructure will help them sell more bikes.
  • Find out about local public meetings related to planning for cycling infrastructure, show up and look for other bicyclists there (does your city have a council/board that meets regularly and publicly that you can find out the agenda for and check when there's transportation issues on the agenda? Maybe a committee or board or something that plans the city's transportation?).
  • Get some other dedicated bicycle-people together, start your own, and figure out who in your local government to talk to in order to improve the bicycle infrastructure in your own area.
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Well, in many countries there is a nationwide cycling advocacy group, often organized similarly to motoring clubs. In Germany there is the ADFC, the Netherlands have the Fietsersbond, etc.

A international umbrella organization is the European Cyclists'Federation. I don't think there is any global umbrella organization.

These organizations are all part service organizations, offering things like advice, insurance, member newletters, guided tours etc., and part political/advocacy organizations, which lobby politicians, work for better conditions for cyclists, promote environmental measures etc.

Just google, there may well be a similar organization close to you.

Disclaimer: I am an ADFC member.

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+1 the EuroVelo routes are fascinating! Anyone tested them? They are somewhat different to European Long-distance Paths [1] and the other map [2]. [1] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_long-distance_paths [2] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Eurovelomap.png –  user652 Feb 19 '11 at 18:39

you can also check out http://www.bikecollectives.org/wiki/index.php?title=Main_Page

or http://www.bikecollectives.org/wiki/index.php?title=Community_Bicycle_Organizations

that will show you a list of bike collectives in every country. It's not complete yet, but it's the most up to date resource I've found. You can then email a bike collective near you to get more information about bicycle advocacy in your neighborhood.

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I think that advocacy organizations absolutely must operate at very local, municipal scales. Why? because every town is different and has its own unique physical, legislative, and cultural landscape. Some places struggle simply with basic acceptance of the concept of a bicycle on the road, others are concerned with expansion of sharrows/lanes/signage/parking dedicated to bikes, others still are implementing bike-sharing systems.

I think in many towns you'll find the following categories of advocacy groups. Some are more active than others, but all of them contribute in some way to better cycling in general. These organizations are the ones that are doing the nitty-gritty work in the towns in which they operate.

I am taking the word "political" somewhat loosely, some of these groups directly interface with governments, others work indirectly by influencing public perception or working towards specific causes which is perhaps even MORE critical to success in the long term than government interaction.

  • Sports (cycling clubs, racing teams, velodromes) Some transportation advocates marginalize sports as a fringe activity but in fact it puts cycling in a positive light as far as the general public is concerned. Seeing cyclists training or on group rides organized by clubs gets people used to the idea of cyclists. Races generate interest, business activity, and a desire to see more local athletes compete in regional, national and international levels. Towns that are lucky enough to have velodrome, I think, can really leverage a positive spin on cycling because it becomes a spectator sport that is intertwined with the local community. As a result, riding a bike whether for sport, leisure, or transportation becomes something ordinary or even "cool".
  • Pure advocacy (Transportation Alternatives [NYC], Bike Maryland) These organizations spearhead real change in municipalities by having professionals interface with government to enact ordinances like the three foot rule, public education campaigns, and publicity for cycling infrastructure and accommodations. They can also provide a model that other smaller towns can use for their own cycling advocacy. Finally, it is good to have an organized response to incidents where cyclists are injured or killed and to use these tragedies to educate the public and work towards making such accidents less likely in the future.
  • Local Parks and Recreation Departments (Baltimore Gwynns Falls Trail) Putting cycling facilities in parks is a no-brainer. Park facilities make it possible for newbies to get comfortable with cycling in a very safe familiar environment. Like with sports, it also puts a positive light on cycling.
  • Rails to Trails (Great Allegheny Passage, Katy Trail) These organizations have taken otherwise unused rail lines and converted them into trails that cover hundreds of miles and provide tourist revenue and centers ofinterest for rural and urban communities. They're the ones who do the very hard work of dealing with right-of-way and property laws to make the trails a reality.
  • Local Departments of Transportation (Capital Bikeshare, Philly Bike Share [in progress]) Whenever you have bike lanes, bus-carriers, public racks, bike-shares and other amenities it is because some advocacy group (or regular citizens) pushed for these things and the local government then accommodates, funds, maintains, contracts, or even operates the facilities. In many cities, younger people who are saavy to cycling and alternative transporation are now working increasingly higher level jobs in departments of transportation. Expect to see more changes as a result.
  • Urban planning/development groups (Congress for the New Urbanism , Complete Streets) There is a strong movement towards "livable communities" and "complete streets". Progressive urban planners in the USA have started with a critique of pedestrian-hostile car-centric urban design and have moved towards historically-based human-scale designs which emphasize walking, cycling, public transportation and densifying retail, housing, businesses and recreation into smaller centralized locations. This is absolutely critical for the future because you simply can't expect towns which consist of literally nothing but arterials connecting to parking lots to ever truly become bike-friendly.
  • Collectives (Velocipide [Baltimore MD], Free Ride [Pittsburgh, PA]) These are small spaces that provide anyone refurbished bikes at very low or free in cost and a place to work on them. There are workshops on fixing bikes and outreach to kids. I think these places put lots of wheels on the road.
  • Critical Mass In the "old days" (80's, 90's) this was one of the first bike advocacy methods. Whether you agree with it or not, it has raised attention to the needs and demands of cyclists in environments that were very hostile to anything but a car.
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In the UK we have the Cyclists Touring Club:

http://www.ctc.org.uk/

One organisation that used to have a sharp political edge is Carbusters:

http://carbusters.org/

Don't forget that the cycle trade has advocacy in the industry. One UK site of note is BikeBiz:

http://www.bikebiz.com/

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