The real meat of the event was in the meetings with our State Representatives. From my past history of having served as Township Supervisor I already knew both our current State Representative Gretchen Driskell and the State Senator representing my area Rebecca Warren. Gretchen and I had served together on several boards in Washtenaw County when I was Supervisor and she was Mayor of Saline. As well, I had known Rebecca since she was a State Representative from Ann Arbor and her husband serves on the County Board of Commissioners and we have had opportunities to work together on common goals. The agenda put forward by the LMB was to make legislators aware of issues high on the list or priorities for LMB and the other participating cycling advocacy groups. Highlights of the priorities are;
- Protecting vulnerable roadway users by establishing enhanced penalties for injuring or killing cyclists.
- Establishing a standard for safe passing of bicyclists on Michigan roads.
- Revising the right turn hand signal to make an extended right arm legal in Michigan.
- Allowing bicyclists to bypass malfunctioning traffic lights.
- Supporting a new Michigan trails and greenways license plate to fund local trail projects.
- Preventing the Raid on Natural Resources Trust Fund Dollars Available for Trails Projects.
- Adequately funding safe transportation infrastructure that supports multi-modal use.
It was great to be in a position of advocacy and particularly so since I felt a real connection to both legislators. Senator Warren was instrumental in helping us to secure permitting for phase I of the non motorized path project which was my pet project while Supervisor. She had been in attendance at our ribbon cutting for the path when it opened, so she was very aware of my passion for the subject matter and Representative Driskell had been in attendance of several transportation meetings where I reported on the progress of our path from it's inception to it's current state. I thoroughly enjoyed the day and the opportunity for our collective voices to be heard. A link to the LMB information about the Lucinda Means Bicycle Advocacy Day is here.
Driving home I reflected on my goals for riding in 2013 that I posted here, and realized that I am slowly making progress on this year's goals, almost without thinking. When creating the list I wanted to take on an advocacy project and this day certainly qualified for that. I also mulled over wanting to go further and faster and my rides and training are making progress toward those goals. My mileage per ride is increasing as well as my speed. My goal is to work toward a 40 mile ride and it's going to happen with a series of 20-25 and 30 mile rides. Pushing harder gears allows me to gobble up those miles faster. Pushing myself on hills is like interval training and that will make me stronger and when I am stronger I will be faster. My last ride averaged 9 MPH over my longest distance yet this year of 23+ miles. It's a great feeling to challenge yourself physically and mentally like this and the results are rewarding in many ways. Success feeds on success and right about now I'm feeling pretty successful.
Considering my frame of mind just a few short weeks ago I find myself very grateful indeed to our loving God who has helped to bring me to the place I currently am.
Here are some photos of the day in Lansing!