Lawmakers and Staff to Bike for Bipartisanship in the Windy City
Chicago—State lawmakers are taking to the streets of Chicago, but this is no campaign stop: It’s the 12th annual Bipartisan Bike Ride at the National Conference of State Legislatures’ (NCSL) 42nd annual Legislative Summit.
More than 150 lawmakers, legislative staff and other Summit attendees will be participating in the approximately 8.5-mile ride, which begins at 6:15 a.m. Thursday, August 11, in Grant Park at the corner of Columbus and Balbo. The ride will start by rolling south on Chicago’s iconic Lakefront Trail to 31st Street beach. The return route showcases projects that have significantly improved the safety and comfort of on-street bicycling, such as the new curb-protected bike lanes on 31st Street through Bronzeville and the Illinois Institute of Technology’s (IIT) campus. .
The ride gives lawmakers a chance to network, exercise and take in the sights of beautiful Chicago, considered one of the best cities in the United States for bicycling. Under the leadership of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, since 2011 Chicago has installed 108 miles of barrier and buffer protected bicycle lanes, opened the 2.7 mile elevated 606 Trail, and launched Divvy bike share which has 584 stations and growing around the region.
Since 2005, legislators representing 27 states, the Virgin Islands and Guam, along with lawmakers from Canada and Germany, have taken part in this annual event. This year’s ride is hosted by Illinois Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno (R), Illinois Assistant House Majority Leader Elaine Nekritz (D), Texas State Senator Rodney Ellis (D) and Texas Representative Dan Flynn (R).
“We welcome the opportunity to share examples of bike improvements made possible by local, state, and federal collaboration,” says Senator Radogno. Representative Nekritz adds, “I look forward to taking the conference outside. Riding a bike is one of the best ways to experience Chicago.”
The ride is a collaboration of NCSL and BikeTexas. It is generously sponsored by American Heart Association, General Mills, Herbalife, National Safety Council, Primal Wear, Rails to Trails Conservancy and Walmart.
NCSL’s annual Summit provides a forum for lawmakers to engage in dialogue on issues of pressing importance to the states. This year’s agenda includes presentations from speakers including business journalist Ron Insana; journalist and author Ted Koppel; Julia Stasch, the president of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; Hugh Acheson, an award winning chef; and co-founder and CEO of Solar City, Lyndon Rive. There will also be “deep-dives” into pressing state topics such as the criminal justice system and education.
All meetings held in conjunction with NCSL’s Legislative Summit are open to the press. Registration is required but free to credentialed members of the media. Online registration is open and highly encouraged. Please review NCSL’s media policy before registering.
NCSL is a bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staffs of the states, commonwealths and territories. It provides research, technical assistance and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas on the most pressing state issues and is an effective and respected advocate for the interests of the states in the American federal system.